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Paella Mixta: A Fusion of Land and Sea

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Paella Mixta is a vibrant and flavorful Spanish dish that combines the best of both worlds: land and sea. This version of paella blends a variety of meats, such as chicken and chorizo, with seafood like shrimp, mussels, and clams, all brought together with saffron-infused rice and a medley of vegetables. The result is a rich, aromatic, and visually stunning meal that’s perfect for special occasions or gatherings. Here’s how to prepare an authentic Paella Mixta at home, along with tips to ensure it turns out perfectly.

Ingredients:

For the Paella:

  • 2 cups Bomba rice (or any short-grain rice like Arborio)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup tomatoes, grated
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

For the Meats and Seafood:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 links Spanish chorizo, sliced
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 12 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 12 clams, cleaned
  • 1/2 lb squid, cleaned and cut into rings

Garnish:

  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Saffron Broth:

  • In a medium saucepan, warm the chicken broth over medium heat.
  • Add saffron threads to the warm broth and let it steep for 10-15 minutes to infuse the broth with saffron flavor and color.

2. Sear the Meats:

  • In a large paella pan or wide skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Add the chicken thighs to the pan and sear for 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the sliced chorizo to the pan and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3. Sear the Seafood:

  • In the same pan, add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until pink and opaque. Remove and set aside.
  • Add the squid rings and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside.

4. Sauté the Vegetables:

  • In the same pan, add the chopped onion and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the diced red and green bell peppers, green beans, and peas. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp.

5. Add the Rice and Spices:

  • Stir in the Bomba rice, grated tomatoes, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika. Mix well to coat the rice and vegetables with the spices.
  • Pour in the white wine (if using) and cook for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed.

6. Combine and Simmer:

  • Pour the saffron-infused broth into the pan, stirring gently to distribute the ingredients evenly.
  • Return the seared chicken thighs and chorizo slices to the pan, nestling them into the rice mixture.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Do not stir once the broth is added.
  • Arrange the mussels and clams hinge-side down into the rice, nestling them slightly into the mixture.

7. Cook the Paella:

  • Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and let the paella simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the seared shrimp and squid on top of the rice.

8. Develop the Socarrat:

  • For the coveted crispy bottom layer (socarrat), increase heat to medium-high during the last 5 minutes of cooking, allowing the rice to lightly caramelize without stirring.

9. Rest and Serve:

  • Remove the pan from heat and let the paella rest, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
  • Serve hot and enjoy this flavorful and impressive Paella Mixta!

Tips for Success:

  • Rice Selection: Bomba rice is traditional for paella due to its ability to absorb liquid while maintaining firmness. Arborio rice can be a suitable substitute.
  • Seafood Variety: Use a mix of your favorite seafood. Ensure all seafood is fresh and cleaned properly before cooking.
  • Saffron: Saffron is essential for authentic flavor and color. Steep the saffron threads in warm broth to fully release their flavor.
  • Socarrat: For the crispy bottom layer, known as socarrat, increase the heat to medium-high during the last 5 minutes of cooking. This caramelizes the rice at the bottom without stirring.

Nutritional Benefits:

Paella Mixta is rich in protein from the meats and seafood and packed with vitamins and fiber from the vegetables. Saffron adds not only color and flavor but also antioxidants, making this dish both delicious and nutritious.

Pairing Suggestions:

Serve Paella Mixta with a chilled Spanish white wine such as Albariño or Verdejo to complement the delicate flavors of the seafood and saffron. A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can also provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the paella.

Conclusion:

Paella Mixta is a vibrant and flavorful dish that captures the essence of Spanish cuisine. By following this recipe and tips, you can recreate an authentic Paella Mixta at home that is sure to impress family and friends. Enjoy the tradition and deliciousness of Paella Mixta, and savor each bite of this Mediterranean delight!

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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