Comfort Paella!

Here is a dish that is appropriate for summer eating, since it was borne of a nation that is used to its fair share of heat! However, I also find that it is perfectly suited to cold, wet weather, the kind of stuff folks here in Canada are certainly used to. And considering that this dish is spicey, rich and brothy, and pack a lot of meat and seafood into a sticky rice base, the kind of food that really sticks your ribs, you’d think someone who was used to freezing their asses off would have invented it.

Matt’s “Pileup” Paella:
I began making this dish roughly five years ago, coinciding with my darling bride and mine’s trip to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. After determining that we had not eaten any genuine paella, largely because of the hours pilgrims keep and the fact that restaurants don’t serve their real menu until late in the evening (by which time pilgrims are sound asleep), I decided to learn the recipe and make some myself. The exercise was so popular that my wife and I insist on repeating it whenever possible! Talk about a hot, satisfying dish to chase away the cold and the rain!

1 Clove garlic, chopped
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 Red pepper, chopped
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 Cups chicken stock
2 Cups water
1 Cup white wine
1 Cup brown rice
1 Chorizo sausage, sliced
1 Breast chicken, sliced
12 Large shelled prawns

1 Cup peas

Combine garlic, onions, pepper and tomatoes in a deep frying dish with Chorizo, chicken and prawns. Stir until garlic, onions, pepper and tomatoes soften and meat and prawns are lightly cooked. Add chicken stock and water, stir thoroughly and add wine. Let sit until liquid comes to a boil and add peas. Let simmer until rice is cooked, stir regularly to prevent sticking. Add crushed chilies or cayenne powder to spice. Traditional recipes generally involve mussels and saffron. In the former case, my wife doesn’t like them, so I avoid their use. As for Saffron, never used it. That spice don’t come cheap, you know!

Beer Pairing:
Now this is a tough one! It’s not that beer doesn’t go well with Paella, it’s really just that it is more well suited to wine, particularly a dry one. However, when looking for a beer to go with this dish, one should steer towards something light and subtle. So, once again, I would go with something in the Lager/Pilsner variety, or possibly a nice light wheat. In this regard, I would suggest either a Wellington Arkell Best Bitter, a Philips Analogue 78 Kolsch, Erdinger Weisbier, or Hoyne’s Summer Haze Honey Hefe.

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