Big Ol’ Family Feast

It was kind of a big weekend around these parts.

Not only was it Father’s Day yesterday, but it also happens to be my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary today.

Saturday night our family got together to celebrate the dads and my parents. And of course, it warranted a special meal.

I’m a self-professed over achiever when it comes to cooking for my family. I like to impress people with my culinary prowess.  Or at least try to.

Well, that and I cook for myself and myself alone so frequently that when the opportunity to cook for other people comes along I get overly excited, tripping all over myself to buy fancy ingredients and use specialty equipment.

It’s precious, I promise.

I also wanted to surprise my parents with a really special dinner for the occasion.

Considering I bought my dad a paella pan last year and have been promising to make the dish ever since, it seemed like the natural choice.

Plus, c’mon. Shrimp and mussels and chicken AND sausage?

That doesn’t happen every day in my kitchen.

There are approximately 4 million versions of paella. I even gifted my dad with a cookbook devoted to paella recipes along with the pan. However, the cookbook was not at my disposal as I was figuring out what I needed to make it, so I took to the internet and made it work.

serves 6

adapted from this Robert Irvine recipe

pinch of saffron
1 T olive oil
3 links Trader Joe’s smoked chicken andouille sausage (or other sausage)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 softball-sized sweet onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup white wine (I used a wine similar to pinot grigio)
3/4 T paprika
2 T fresh parsley, minced
1 quart chicken broth + 4 oz
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 T salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 pound large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
2 T capers, drained
1/4-1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Add saffron to a small bowl (1/2-1 cup) of warm water, allow to bloom at least 10 minutes.
3. Heat half of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice sausages on a diagonal and cook until lightly browned.
4. Remove sausage to a plate, cut chicken into 1-inch cubes, add to skillet and cook until lightly browned. Remove to a plate.
5. Add remaining oil to skillet. Add onion and saute until translucent, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
6. Add wine to skillet and allow to reduce by half.
7. Add paprika, parsley, saffron and 1 quart chicken broth to skillet and bring to a gentle boil.
8. Add rice, salt and pepper to skillet and stir to combine.
9. Place rice mixture as well as sausage and chicken into a paella pan (or use a very large skillet if you don’t have one) and place it in oven for about 20 minutes.
10. At this point, if the rice is a little dry, add the remaining broth. Scatter mussels on top and place back in oven for 7 minutes.
11. Remove from oven, place shrimp on top and add capers.  Return to oven for an additional 4-5 minutes, until shrimp are pink.
12. Garnish with cilantro and serve out of pan.

There’s no question, this is an impressive dish.

And it takes a good hour and a half to make.  You might want to be prepared with some light appetizers. I served some Spanish cheeses and hams with crusty bread.  Yes. Definitely do that.

But it’s really not difficult, I promise. It’s just time consuming.

The paella turned out really well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. And I feel really fortunate to be able to share a really special meal with my parents.

16 thoughts on “Big Ol’ Family Feast

  1. Wow…An hour and half? Man, I would definitely need appetizers. You know how cranky I get if I’m not fed every two hours…But the time factor aside, that is some seriously beautiful paella. And I’m sure it topped the restaurant-version your dad had last year!

  2. Holy woah, does that look amazing! I’ve always been afraid to cook muscles as home, but you’ve changed my perspective.

    Lucky parents, that’s an amazing celebration – kudos to 40!

  3. I. LOVE. PAELLA (I’ve had about 5 different versions of it and all delicious!!). Wish I was there.

  4. YUM. I love paella and this looks great! What an amazing daughter you are – happy anniversary to your parents, too. Forty years is fantastic, and you certainly made the celebration extra special!

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