Being under Spanish Colonial Rule for over 300 years, Spanish influence in Philippine culture can be seen until today, despite the onslaught of modern globalization. It's in our architecture, our religious belief system, in our language, and our cuisine. It was this theme that was running in my brain ever since I saw a travel-documentary show on cable a few days ago and it made me crave for Paella. (Leave it to me to think about food during a history lesson...) Paella has developed a reputation for being a difficult dish to prepare and could get a bit pricey especially when you have them in authentic Spanish restaurants. Think saffron, esteemed to be the most expensive spice known to man.
Undaunted, I checked out a recipe online to make my own Paella at home. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of the ingredients on hand. But I did have some stuff in the pantry and ref that I thought would make a decent enough Paella to serve my own purposes. Fortunately, the recipe did well in satisfying my craving. And apparently even those of family members, who went back for seconds.
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
chicken pieces wing, thigh, and leg cut in half, and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 pc. cooked porkchop or liempo, sliced (left over grilled porkchop or liempo works fine)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips (set aside eight strips for garnish)
2-3 chorizo de bilbao, sliced
1 package del Monte caldereta mix
1 tsp. Spanish Paprika
2 1/4 c. water
1/4 k. shrimps
cooked rice (about 6 cups)
1 c. green peas
In a big nonstick pan fry chicken pieces until golden brown. Take out fried chicken pieces from the pan and set aside.
Saute garlic, onion, bell pepper, and chorizo de bilbao. Pour in water and caldereta mix and stir until the caldereta mix is incorporated well in the water. Put in the cooked chicken and pork.
Add in shrimps. When the shrimps turn pink, take them out and set aside.
Add the cooked rice and peas, and season with paprika, stir to make sure the rice is evenly distributed in the pan. There should be a very thin layer of the caldereta sauce on top of the rice so adjust the amount of rice accordingly.
Arrange the cooked shrimps and remaining bell pepper strips on top of the paella. Bring heat to lowest setting to avoid scorching. Cover and let steam until the sauce has simmered away. About 20 minutes.