This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the March #WinePW Yakima Valley wines event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
This month, for the March 2021 event for the Wine Pairing Weekend group, Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles is hosting as we explore the wines of Washington state's Yakima Valley. You can read her invitation here. Then Robin worked with Wine Yakima Valley* to pair the participating writers with sponsoring wineries.
I received such a generous selection of wines from two different wineries that I couldn't squeeze them all into my event posts. So, I am sharing bonus pairings and tastings throughout the month to give them all their due. And because March 27th is National Paella Day, I decided to share my Paella Mixta as an extra post for this month's #WinePW event.
When a local-to-me renegade winemaker and prolific food guru posted that he's making the same dish I was considering for dinner, I hopped over and asked him about a wine pairing. Here's our brief exchange...
"In a perfect world," he tweeted, "I might go with an Albariño, but failing that I'm thinking about a crisp, dry Mosel Riesling." Well, that's all the inspiration I needed. I responded that his suggestion was serendipitous.
In the Glass
I happened to have a bottle of the 2020 Riesling from Sin Banderas* that needed pairing. I love when things work out like that. I will share more about Sin Banderas' story during the #WinePW event this coming weekend. For now, I'll just share this wine.
During my virtual meeting with Susan of Sin Banderas, she said that the 2020 DuBrul Riesling was a classic, Alsatian-style Riesling. She cautioned that it was flower petal-y on the nose, but it was a truly dry Riesling. I was instantly intrigued by that: a floral nose that belied its bright acidity.
Though we talked about pairing it with curry and peanut sauces - in fact, Susan said it would pair with anything that included a jalapeño - I couldn't get Randall's paella match out of my head. So, you'll have to stay tuned for my duck tacos with a jalapeño-jicama slaw.
I did get those lovely floral aromas on the nose. But as the wine warmed throughout dinner, more of the marzipan and stone fruit revealed themselves. Still a faint hint of petrol reminded me that I was drinking a Riesling. This wine was a stunner and, not surprisingly since I took the suggestion from Randall, it was a delicious match for my paella.
On the Plate
Several years ago I had a friend from Spain teach me how to make paella. Real paella. And, since then, I've made peace with my paella pan - it was previously collecting dust in a cabinet - and whipped up some really tasty dinners.
I had everything I needed to make it, so after Randall's truly timely tweet, I decided to make it for dinner. I just needed a little serendipitous inspiration.
Ingredients serves 8
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled (peels and heads reserved)
- 8 Tablespoons olive oil (Juan told me 1 Tablespoon per serving)
- 1 organic onion, peeled and diced
- 3 to 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
- 1 bell pepper (I used a red bell pepper)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce or 3 diced organic tomatoes
- 2 cups Spanish paella rice
- 1 generous pinch saffron
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 4 cups fish stock (or you can use 6 cups stock and skip the shrimp peel simmered water)
- 2 cups water with the shrimp peels simmered and cooled
Place the shrimp peels in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let the peels steep until completely cooled. Strain out the peels and set aside. If you aren't using shrimp that came with peels, you can skip this step and simply use 2 cups more fish stock or even water.
Blend together the smoked paprika, coriander, and turmeric. Set aside.
Peel and dice the onions. Deseed and dice the bell pepper. Heat olive oil in the paella pan. Add onions and bell pepper. Stir in the chicken and cook until there is no more pink. Sprinkle in the spices and stir in the garlic.
Sauté until the onion is softened and translucent.
Tip in the rice. Add the saffron to the side of the pan - away from the direct heat of the burner. Pour in the stock and nestle the peeled shrimp into the pan.
At this point, do not stir. Gently shake the pan to distribute the rice and seafood evenly. But do not stir. Ever. As Juan instructed me: "This is not risotto."
Bring the pan to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Watch the pan and keep turning it so that the rice cooks evenly. As it cooks, the stock will be fully absorbed.
You will see fewer and fewer bubbles popping up through the top. When it is completely dry, it's done. The rice should also be crackling. It reminds me of rice krispies. Snap, crackle, and pop!
When you no longer see any bubbles, remove the pan from the heat. Tent it with foil and let it steam for 10 minutes.
To serve, use a flat spatula to scrape the soccarat from the bottom. Invert the scoop onto the individual plates to show off your soccarat, that delicious, crusty goodness on the bottom of the pan!
Thanks, Randall, for the serendipitous inspiration. Thanks, Sin Banderas, for the stunning Riesling. And this dish is one of my most requested for my Culinary Cam YouTube channel...I did actually film the process. So, I'll share that once it's live. Probably for National Paella Day at the end of the month. Stay tuned....
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*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.