I woke up to the sounds of Flamenco music, complete with the strumming of acoustic guitars, the snapping of fingers in the air, and the clatter of stomping heels on the hardwood floor. How they got in my bedroom I’ll never know, but what I did know was that was a sign. A sign that today would be “Paella day”. It started as a thought many months in the making, but today, well, today it was to become a reality. For the sake of space and clarity, I used this Paella On The Grill recipe (scroll down the page to see it). It is from Steven Raichlen and his BBQ University. This was the perfect day to take this recipe on. I envisioned a beautiful outdoor dining scene, and it just so happened that our backdrop for this evening was our local park’s concert featuring a mix of blues, jazz and pop. All within easy earshot of our fired-up grill, ready to go with hardwood coals and the ribbons of hickory smoke, darting and jumping as if it was dancing to the music.
Chicken thighs were simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and indirectly grilled until about halfway done. They’ll finish up and get their flavor from the rest of the ingredients.
Flip the thighs, and now let the Paella pan take center stage directly over the hot coals, with a little oil and a couple of chorizo sausages thrown in there to slip and slide while making their own music.Time now to start building the dish, so the chicken and chorizo can be set aside, waiting for their grand re-entry. I sliced the chorizo so it’s ready to go later.After searing that chorizo, by the way, you’re going to be the proud recipient of spiced up fat in that pan, perfect for tossing in sliced red bell peppers and diced onion. Get a good sauté on all that. It’s starting to feel and smell a little special now, so before adding in the garlic, you may want to be a little dramatic. You know, perform a quick heel stomp around the grill, hands in air for a clap and a snap, thrust your chin upward towards the sky, and then in one smooth, yet confident motion, snap that garlic down in that pan for additional sizzle and great aroma. Extra style points if you do this with a rose stem from your garden clenched in your teeth. Deduct points if you left the thorns on, because that’s a rookie mistake. Sauté this great mixture a bit longer, then add the diced tomatoes and about half the parsley, cooking for about another minute or so. Now we’re getting close, so it’s time to add the rice, stirring to get the grains all nice and coated. Pour in the wine, giving it a good stir. And go ahead and pour yourself some wine as well. You’ve earned it, you know you have.Let this mixture come close to a boil, and then add in the chicken stock and saffron. Notice that great color coming in from the saffron. Stir it up good and again, wait for the boil.Now, about that chicken and chorizo. Time to bring them back, and strategically place them in your pan. Skin side up on the chicken, just for looks.They’ll finish cooking in this tasty mixture, gaining flavor and importing their own flavor to the dish. After another 5 minutes or so, add the seafood. I only had shrimp, but obviously this is a dish that you can use whatever your favorites happen to be. Yes, I wanted mussels as well, but I came to find out that some scoundrel cleaned out the local market’s supply just a day before I went to gather some, so shrimp it is. When you notice the seafood is done, pull the pan from the fire, sprinkle with the peas and remaining parsley, and what you have is a paella that’s as pretty to look at as it is delicious to eat. Like a mini buffet, you can choose the chicken, chorizo, or shrimp, or all three (recommended) and get after it, wood fired paella style. And because you’ve been good, grab a glass of white wine sangria and really feel the moment.
Because Life Is Better Wood-Fired