Saturday, June 12, 2010

First Time for Everything...

Obviously, I haven't posted in quite awhile. Studying for an MBA while working full time and having a 45-minute commute (one way) doesn't lend itself to much culinary experimentation! :-) I haven't been anywhere new recently. The times I have been out in the last few months have been unmitigated disasters nearly every time, so I decided to try something new at home.

A couple days ago I decided to try my hand at paella. Having never attempted it, I was a little nervous, but nonetheless, decided to give it a shot...on a weeknight...after being at work for 10 hours. Maybe not the best plan to start with.

Searched for a recipe online and decided to go with Tyler Florence's "Ultimate Paella" recipe. It seemed realistic, so I stopped by the grocery to pick up the ingredients, took them home, and started in on it.

Sauteing the chorizo, garlic and onion went perfectly, browning the chicken was a little tough as the chicken stuck to the pan, but this being my first true foray into using my stainless steel skillet, I kinda expected that. But then, it started getting dicey. I didn't read the recipe clearly and forgot to drain the tomatoes before adding them. whoops. So it didn't caramelize like it should, but I figured it would be okay after the rice soaked up the excess liquid, I would just not add all the water called for.

The rice cooked as it should, and then I added back in the chorizo and chicken...soooo...there are special paella pans for a reason. A large skillet was NOT big enough. Slopping over the sides and much frustration followed. Proceeded to let it cook for the requisite time...check the chicken, and it's still raw. Really raw. 2 hours have already passed, 9 o'clock is swift approaching, and knowing that there was no way to cook the chicken any faster without destroying the rice and everything else in the pan, I decided to give up the game.

So what did I learn? To either roast the chicken while the rest of the rice and everything else was cooking, to just use boneless chicken breasts instead of on-the-bone chicken, or to boil the chicken and shred it and add the already cooked chicken to the paella.

Maybe I'll try it again. When I do, I will cut the recipe in half to prevent the Mount Vesuvius of paella from swamping my stove.

Live and learn.

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