As a child, I used to go to a seafood restaurant located in the port of Casablanca. It served the freshest, best-tasting seafood one could have.
The décor was simple with solid burgundy tablecloths and walls sporadically decorated with fishing nets and wooden fish and seafood of all sorts. The food was always impeccable and the wait time accordingly extensive. One of their most delicious dishes was paella.
I was lucky to eat there quite frequently as Casablanca was often in the middle of our travel itineraries and my family didn’t mind waiting at all if it meant we were going to enjoy a great meal.
One memory that comes back whenever I think of paella is the day I asked the waiter if I could have paella without rice. My mother still teases me about it to this day.
Quite ironically, my daughter asked me if she could have her grilled cheese sandwich sans the bread. My mother and I laughed heartily.
This is my mother’s recipe for paella. I’ve cherished it for so long and today finally had the time to make it for the first time in months. It is a delicious all-in-one meal that makes a great weekend lunch or dinner with family, especially in this wonderful weather.
Seafood and Chicken Paella
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ pound chicken breast, cubed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 pinches saffron threads
- ¼ cup of warm water
- ½ cup tomato puree
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 sprigs parsley
- ¼ cup diced yellow bell peppers or mini sweet peppers
- ¼ cup diced orange ell peppers or mini sweet peppers
- ¼ cup diced red bell peppers or mini sweet peppers
- ½ cup peas
- 1 ½ cups long grain parboiled rice
- 1 dozen littleneck clams
- ½ pound medium shrimp with tail, peeled and deveined
- ½ pound squid, cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Step 1: In a 4-quart pot, over low-medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic, and chicken in olive oil until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and turmeric powder.
Step 2: Melt the saffron threads in the warm water and add them to the pot. Add the tomato purée, chicken broth, and parsley sprigs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Step 3:Lower the heat to low. Incorporate the yellow peppers, orange peppers, red peppers, peas, and rice. Add the clams, shrimp, and squid. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 25 minutes.
Step 4:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5: Discard the parsley. Transfer the contents of the pot into a baking dish, leaving out the excess sauce. Bake for 5 to10 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Serve warm.