I am back! The vacation is over and now that I have gained 9 pounds and recharged my batteries, I am ready to share some of the recipes I intended to post before the break (and many more) and even start soon with the video blog.
After spending some weeks in Spain, I am more convinced than ever that there is no better place to enjoy food. Not only because of the prime quality ingredients, and the excellent restaurants (with a majority of Spanish chefs among the top ten), but also because our attitude towards food is different… we appreciate food and we enjoy it with friends and family. We really take our meals seriously. Spaniards don’t eat a sandwich for lunch, even less while walking or driving, if they can avoid it. Sandwiches are good for children, for a picnic or for a morning or afternoon snack… and even in that case we prefer “bocadillos” (hard crust bread).
While I was there I was lucky enough to visit a bunch of good restaurants, which I will review shortly, I saw some old friends (20 years go by sooo fast!) and got inspired by traditional tapas and new tendencies that I will love to blog about in the coming weeks.
And now, let me tell you about the recipe I was going to post before the summer break. We met our friends Rosa and Jose María to visit some local breweries and when we all started to get a little hungry they suggested lunch at their place. Completely improvising, they prepared great paella… with eggs and chistorra! Yes, I was surprised too, but I can assure you it deserves a post. After many years rejecting varieties of paella that didn’t respect the original recipe and included things like chorizo, I have to admit that this one was really good. And while Jose was taking care of the rice, Rosa prepared some delicious appetizers with tuna and piquillo peppers that we enjoyed with a few beers. So here you have the recipe, in case some hungry friends knock at the door and take you by surprise.
Ingredients (5 servings)
2 1/2 cups (500 grs.) Paella rice (short round white rice)
2 red bell peppers (or 1 yellow and 1 red)
1 cup (150 grs.) chopped green beans
½ cup peeled and grated tomato (or tomato puree)
1 chistorra (use 250 grs. of Spanish chorizo or fresh sausage if you can’t find it)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt, olive oil
You will need:
1 paella pan or a wide, flat pan.
1 newspaper or large kitchen towel
STEP 1.- Slice the peppers and chop the green beans. Heat 3 tbsps. of olive oil in the paella pan and add the pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
STEP 2.- Add the tomato and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the rice and toss well, so it gets coated with the remaining oil.
STEP 3.- Meanwhile, cut the chistorra into 1 ½ inch pieces and brown for 5 minutes in a separate pan. Bring the stock to a boil and keep it hot.
STEP 4.- Add the chistorra and 5 cups of the hot stock to the paella pan . Taste it and add salt if necessary. Keep over high heat for 5 minutes, then lower heat to medium-low and cook for 12-14 minutes (depending on how soft you like the rice).
STEP 5.- 5 minutes before the rice is ready, crack the eggs and place them on top of the rice (that will be dry on the surface at that point).
STEP 6.- When the cooking time is over, turn the heat off, cover with a newspaper or kitchen towel and let rest for another five minutes.
STEP 7.-Serve immediately, with some hard crust bread and maybe some aioli on the side. Enjoy!
- Remember: the pan is really important, you need to keep a thin layer of rice.
- Before adding the eggs, try the rice. If it is completely dry and very undercooked, add the remaining cup of hot stock. Bear in mind that it will still be hard in the center, as it needs another 5 minutes of cooking and another 5 of resting. The amount of liquid varies from one place to another, depending on the type of rice, altitude, quality of the water, heat… you will have to try this recipe once or twice before you find out the exact proportion of rice/liquid you need.