This will be our first recipe of the brand spanking new year! And the second recipe to our International Pressure Cooking Adventure. Spanish Paella with Seafood, Chicken and Chorizo. Happy 2011 everyone!!!
Traditional paella is usually made on the stove-top in a special cooking pan. But we’re going to give it a try in the good old pressure cooker. I’m told that usually rice made in the pressure cooker is very soft, almost like a risotto. And paella is more on the dry side like fried rice, and most commonly known for its “soccorat”, the hard chewy crust at the bottom of the pan. But we’re going to actually use the browning feature in the pressure cooker to make this crust at the bottom. For a more in depth description and the history about paella, click here.
A few of my friends come from a Spanish background, mixed with many other nationalities. And the culture and food always intrigued me. I actually took a trip to Spain back when I was very young, in Jr. High School with some classmates. And I remember the wonderful architecture, cathedrals, the food (delicious bocadillo sandwiches and sangria wine) and the hospitality of the people. My most memorable location was the beautiful gothic cathedral, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and its immensely tall spiral staircases that I climbed. I will definitely be taking another trip back now that I’m older and can appreciate the culture so much more.
There are many different kinds of paella. Some contain only seafood such as clams, mussels, shrimp, scallop, squid and fish. Some contain only meat such as pork, chicken, sausage or chorizo. And other times, there are both seafood and meat in it. The combined variety is what I made in my pressure cooker this time.
1 lb Chicken, diced
8 oz. Spicy Chorizo
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion, diced
1/4 tsp Marjoram
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/8 tsp Whole Saffron
15 oz Long-grain rice, uncooked
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Water
2 Cloves garlic, minced
½ lb Whole Shrimp (rip off the heads if they weird you out)
½ lb Clams, in the shell, Drained
1/2 cup Green Peas; Frozen (you can also add frozen diced bell peppers too)
1 Lemon, wedged
Heat up the inner pot in the pressure cooker by pressing Start. This will turn on the browning feature. Add the olive oil, the chopped onions, Marjoram, Cumin and Saffron into the pot and saute for about a minute.
Now add the chopped chicken and chorizo into the pot and saute until the chorizo begins to separate. Everything will turn an orangy red color from the chorizo.
Put in all the rice and mix it all up. Add in the chicken stock and the water. There should be more liquid by 1-inch above the meat and rice mixture.
Shut the lid of the pressure cooker and turn it counter clock-wise to lock. Set the pressure valve to Airtight. Program it to cook for 20-minutes by pressing the “Set Pressure Cook Time” button until the digital display shows 20, then press Start. It will begin the heating process and build up pressure. Once maximum pressure has been reached, a red letter P will display on the screen and now the 20-min cook time will begin to count down.
Flash forward into the future! When the pressure cooker beeps, it will automatically go to keep warm. Release all the pressure by setting the pressure valve to Exhaust, and open the lid. The rice should be perfectly done now.
Add the minced garlic and some salt and give it a gentle stir. Avoid stirring into the bottom of the pot. We want the bottom of the rice to remain still so it browns in the next step.
Add the shrimp and clams into the rice. Tuck them into the mixture so they’re nice and snug and warm. 😛
Shut the lid again and lock it. Press Start without programming a cook time. We are going to use the remaining heat to start cooking the clams and shrimp and also brown the bottom of the rice at the bottom of the pot. The pressure cooker will not pressurize, over-cook or burn the rice at this time because it has a built-in feature that automatically detects the temperature inside the unit. When all the liquid contents have evaporated, the temperature rises, telling the machine it’s getting too hot. The pressure cooker will then automatically shut-off and go to keep warm. So since the rice has absorbed all the chicken stock and water, the only remaining liquid will be from the seafood which is very minimal. Therefore, it will go to keep-warm within 5-min. I think I will dub this little feature the Quick Start function.
Allow the machine to sit in the Keep-Warm setting for about 5-10 minutes. Open the lid later to check and make sure the shrimp and clams are completely cooked through. The shrimp should be opaque and red. And the majority of the clams should have opened. If they need more cooking, do the Quick Start cycle again.
Otherwise add the frozen peas and stir the mixture. The peas should thaw pretty quickly.
Serve hot with lemon wedges and a squeeze of lemon juice.
It may look like simple fried rice but all the infused flavors from the spices, seafood and Chorizo made everything smell and taste delicious.
Notes & Tips:
– Saffron is a pretty expensive spice that sells in really small quantities. If you don’t use this spice often, I recommend bumming them off a friend like I did. hehe You don’t need much either. It’s a pretty strong spice.
– If you like, you can always remove the shrimp heads and shells prior to cooking it. If you do this, I actually suggest using them with some butter and sauteing it in the cooking pot with the onions. Then discard the shells and leave the onions, and add the meat and continue on with the recipe.
– And yes, I got a new digital camera for Christmas!!! Here’s to more new blogs in 2011 with better photography!
**As a side note and completely optional, if you like my blog, I’d really appreciate it if you’d help me out by clicking on the few ads I have now on the site. It’s completely safe and no spam or malware, and totally free as well. But every click a reader makes, will earn me some extra $ to fund this blog. All you have to do is click on an ad you find interesting, and that’s it. Thanks!!!