Our youngest took over the kitchen at the end of a fun-filled weekend. I brought him cookbooks to thumb through while he was snuggled in the living room. He yelled into the other room, “I picked seafood paella”. My immediate thought was, from which cookbook? I was hoping it was Carla Hall’s cookbook because she gives great instructions and I was going to need it! Thankfully, it was Carla’s book.
I was a little nervous about this one on different levels. First, I wasn’t sure I could cook a paella myself, let alone help an 8 year old. Then there was the issue of everyone eating it. It would be a lot of work and a lot of food if the kids didn’t eat it.
All along, I have decided to let the kids try a recipe even if I thought they wouldn’t eat it or it looked difficult, so we went for it! We wrote out the list and were able to find everything except the rice. We used arborio rice and substituted chicken thighs for the whole chicken in pieces. We also followed Carla’s tip and used turmeric in place of the saffron 😉
We read the recipe several times so we understood the timing and prepped everything before turning on the stove. The chef did most of the work. I chopped the onion and slit the chorizo to peel the casing (we were not perfect with this one, but it worked fine for us), and I cut the habanero chile (we used 1/4). He did most of the cooking but I stepped in to remove the chorizo and chicken. I also helped nestle the chicken back in and place the seafood.
Here’s the chef…
Here’s the recipe from Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes From Around the World
I was surprised at how easy the dish turned out to be. Like everything it helps to be prepared. We were able to move along and follow the timing pretty easily. I was a little worried about the rice and it came out perfectly. We have an electric stove and I was weary of the blast of heat at the end. It absolutely worked!
The dish was delicious!! The chef loved the mussels and went back for more. Both boys found the chorizo a little spicy, but the beauty of so many meats, there was something for everyone. The oldest focused on the chicken and wasn’t the biggest fan, but he ate it.
There was a ton of leftovers! This is definitely a great dish for a bigger group and won’t keep you trapped in the kitchen 😉
Have you tried a paella? What’s your favorite cookbook? Do like cookbooks that give thorough instructions?