In episode 10, the Neighbours Club goes on a training camp to the beach and stay overnight at Sena’s summer home by the sea. The day is full of questionable bikini shots and Yozora harassing Sena…. Pretty normal for an episode of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai!
But, what stuck out in this episode (as least food-wise ) was seeing Kodaka make paella for everyone for dinner… Not the most typical meal for a high schooler to make, but perfect for a large group of people! Add the bonding moment between Yozora and Kodaka, and it was an interesting and fun episode.
Maybe a round of paella is what’s needed in order to make some friends?
About the recipe:
Paella is not the easiest dish to make because it requires many steps and ingredients, as well as equipment. Before deciding to make this dish, make sure that you have the correct type of pan. This recipe is for making paella in a Dutch oven (the Dutch oven should be 11 to 12 inches in diameter with at least a 6-quart capacity). With minor modifications (see the recipe for directions), it can also be made in a paella pan.
When making paella, leave yourself plenty of prep time, and have most, if not all, your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking. Also be aware that the timing of this dish may take longer than stated in the recipe. It really depends on the pan you use, as well as the rice you use.
If you prepare all your ingredients ahead, paella can be a delicious but relatively low maintenance meal to cook for company. It makes many servings, is a “one pot meal”, and is visually appealing as well. Pair with a simple salad and a nice glass of wine, and all your guests will be asking for seconds!
About the ingredients:
Dry-cured Spanish chorizo is the sausage of choice for paella, but either fresh chorizo or linguiça is an acceptable substitute. Make sure to get chorizo of good quality since it will impart a lot of flavour into the dish.
The rice used in this dish is Valencia or Arborio rice. This rice is available in health food stores and many grocery stores as well. Do not use regular white rice because it will not absorb the liquid in the same way as Valencia or Arborio rice, thus cooking in a different manner.
Saffron is an essential ingredient in this dish. It imparts the characteristic yellow color to the rice in paella, and is an important spice. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world due to the fact that it must be collected by hand from the saffron crocus flower, and only a few strands of saffron are produced per flower. There is really no comparable substitute for saffron (turmeric might produce the same color as saffron, but it’s very strong tasting, and does not have the same flavour as saffron) , so I recommend using the real thing.
When selecting clams and mussels, make sure that they are fresh. The shells should be closed tightly (even slightly open is not a good sign), which is an indication that they are alive, and they should not smell overly fishy. Never choose clams or mussels with chipped or broken shells. If the clam or mussel’s shell is open, give it a tap. If it closes up, it means that it is still alive. Keep your shellfish nice and cold before you’re ready to use them.
When preparing the shellfish, wash the shells by scrubbing each one with a brush to remove any debris or residue clinging to the shell. If you wish, you may also want to soak your shellfish in cold water for about 20 minutes before cleaning. The shellfish will filter water through it’s body, flushing out sand and salt water, helping to reduce the amount of sand and salt inside the shell.
Mussels contain a weedy beard protruding from the crack between the two shells that must be removed prior to cooking. It is what attaches the mussel to the rock or other stationary object that it grows off of. It’s fairly small and can be difficult to tug out of place. The easiest way to perform this task is to trap the beard between the side of a paring knife and your thumb and pull to remove it. The flat surface of the knife gives you some leverage to extract it.
Makes 6 servings.
- 1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
- 8-9 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra as needed
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each thigh trimmed of excess fat and halved crosswise
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut pole to pole into ½-inch-wide strips
- 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced ½ inch thick on the bias
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, minced, and drained again
- 2 cups Valencia or Arborio rice
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1 dozen clams, scrubbed
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Toss the shrimp, 1 teaspoon of the garlic, 1 tablespoon of the oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Trim and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper; set aside.
3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pepper from the pan and set aside.
4. Add 1 teaspoon more oil to the now-empty Dutch oven; heat the oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer; cook, without moving the pieces, until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the pieces and brown them on the second side, about 3 minutes longer; transfer the chicken to a medium bowl.
5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chorizo to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and the fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to the bowl with the chicken and set aside.
6. Add enough oil to the fat in the Dutch oven to equal 2 tablespoons; heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until the mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes.
7. Stir in the rice and cook until the grains are well coated with the tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, wine, saffron, bay leaf, and ½-teaspoon salt. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven; cook until rice absorbs almost all of the liquid, about 15 minutes.
8. Remove the pot from the oven (close the oven door to retain heat). Uncover the pot; scatter the shrimp and clams over the rice, stick the mussels into the rice with the joint of the shell down so they stand upright in the rice, arrange the bell pepper strings in a pinwheel pattern, and scatter the peas over the top. Cover and return to the oven; cook until the shrimp are opaque and the shellfish have opened, 10 to 12 minutes.
Optional: if soccarat (a layer of crusty browned rice that forms on the bottom of the pan) is desired, set the Dutch oven, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes rotating the pot 180 degrees after about 2 minutes for even browning.
9. Let the paella stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened and the bay leaf, if it can be easily removed. Sprinkle with parsley and serve, passing the lemon wedges separately.
Paella in a paella pan: To use a paella pan or large skillet instead of a Dutch oven, follow the recipe for paella, increasing the chicken broth to 3 ¼ cups and the wine to ½ cup. Before placing the pan in the oven, cover it tightly with foil. For soccarat, cook the paella, uncovered over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees about about 1 ½ minutes for even browning.
Brown rice paella: Follow the recipe for Paella, substituting 2 cups long-grain brown rice for the Valencia rice. Do not add the chicken and chorizo to the pot with the broth in Step 7. Bring the rice-broth mixture to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven; cook until the rice absorbs most of the liquid, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from oven; add the chicken and chorizo, cover the pot, and return it to the oven; cook for 15 minutes. Continue with the recipe as directed in step 8, adding the shrimp, mussels, clams, and bell peppers to the rice.
Source: America’s Test Kitchen