Last week I shared our Swiss mountain adventures and a recipe for delicious Traditional Swiss Rosti. Today we are heading into the beautiful city of Lucerne and sharing a recipe for Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp. I know, Paella is a Spanish dish, so why would I include it in a post about Switzerland? It will all make sense in a minute, I promise.
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The City of Lucerne:
The city of Lucerne is the second stop on our 2018 European vacation (see Italy here and here). Lucerne is lovely, and quite the contrast from the more rural mountain regions of Switzerland, but just as beautiful! During the day, we visited the historical sights…
…spent time in, on, and around beautiful Lake Lucerne…
…toured the local gardens and castles…
…and even spent some time at local farmers markets where we had the best strawberries we have ever tasted!
In the evenings we strolled the beautiful streets, walked along the river…
… and attended festivals and firework shows.
We were surprised to see that the architecture in Lucerne is a mix of old European Brownstones, modern homes and traditional Swiss chalets. Sometimes the city of Lucerne even reminded me of New York City.
On our last night in Lucerne our family ate at a Spanish restaurant called Bolero where we enjoyed the most delicious and beautiful Paella. In my mind our trip to Switzerland will forever be linked to this classic Spanish rice dish. I decided I wanted to share a Paella dish on the blog, there’s only one problem, I have never made Paella!
So I Enlisted a Little Help from My Spanish Daughter in Law
Being that I am from California, and not even remotely Spanish, I was a little intimidated to include a traditional Spanish paella recipe on my blog. Luckily my son is married to a beautiful girl of Spanish decent. Her name is Octavia, maiden name, Escamilla, and she just happens to know how to make a fabulous Paella. She’s also pretty easy on the eyes.
What is Paella?:
Paella is a classic Spanish rice dish made on the cooktop, in a single pan. The Escamilla family recipe calls for rabbit and mussels, which is wonderful and adventurous but I adjusted the recipe to be a little more USA grocery store friendly by using chorizo, chicken thighs, and shrimp.
What You Need To Know About The Rice and The Pan
Authentic Paella is made with a special rice called “Bomba”. This short-grain rice variety is grown near the village of Calasparra, Spain and is known for it’s ability to absorb large amounts of water while remaining firm. If you’re lucky, you can find Bomba in some grocery stores, I find it easier to just buy online. If you live near a Cost Plus World Market, they often carry it too. Paella is made in a Paella pan (<—this 15″ pan is non-toxic carbon steel and easy to clean) That said you can use a 15″ cast iron pan if you have one, and see how it goes. If it turns out you love Paella and want to make it frequently, you can buy the paella pan when you are ready!
Soccorat, The Secret to Fabulous Paella:
Let’s talk soccorat. Soccorat is the crispy, crunchy, caramelized rice created at the bottom of the paella pan! It’s really one of the best parts of eating Paella. To achieve that crispy goodness you stop stirring your paella and leave it untouched for roughly 20 minutes while it simmers. As the moisture is absorbed by the rice, the pan caramelizes the rice at the bottom of the pan. Take a look below. Notice the crispy soccorat? And the tender chicken, spicy chorizo and perfectly cooked shrimp. Swoon!
The Recipe: Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp!
Tips and what you need: Paella is best if made in a Paella pan (<—this 15″ pan is non-toxic, carbon steel and easy to clean). Authenic Paella is made using a short grain rice called “Bomba” (<—buy online or you may find it at Cost Plus World Market) You can usually find saffron at any grocery store but Trader Joe’s has a reasonable price. You can also click here to buy Saffron from Amazon.
A flavorful classic Spanish rice dish made in one pan! Please see notes about using Bomba rice. Cooking time will vary due to burner heat, altitude and pan used, so be sure to keep an eye on your rice. You want that crispy soccorat, but you don't want to burn it:)
- 10 threads saffron, toasted
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion. peeled and diced
- 8-9 oz pork chorizo, no casing or casing removed (I prefer spicy. If you can't find spicy paella you can always add hot sauce or sriracha sauce after cooking)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 32 oz chicken broth four cups
- 2 cups paella rice or "bomba"
- 8 raw shrimp deveined and shelled
- 5 artichoke hearts packed in water quartered
- 1 large tomato diced
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
- 2 lemons quartered for garnish and squeezing
Prepare all ingredients
Take a small piece of foil, fold into a little envelope or pouch. Place saffron inside and seal.
Heat paella pan on medium heat, when pan is hot place foil pouch in pan. Heat both sides for 15 seconds, remove from heat and set aside
Immediately add olive olive to hot pan, add onions, chorizo, and chicken thighs to pan, cook stirring frequently for 12 minutes
Add garlic, saffron threads, smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper, stir and cook, stirring for 2-3 more minutes
Add chicken broth and rice, turn heat up to high, stir well and to pan bring to a boil
Once boiling, turn heat to medium and let it simmer untouched and unstirred for about 20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed This is how the soccorat is created.It can be helpful to turn pan every 5 minutes to avoid hot spots. Be sure to watch and use your nose so rice doesn't burn. You want the rice at the bottom of the pan crispy but not burned
Once liquid is absorbed, tuck artichoke hearts and shrimp into rice, sprinkle with diced tomatoes, cook for five minutes on low
Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes
Sprinkle with parsley, serve, scraping the bottom of pan to get that crispy soccorat! Add lemon wedges for squeezing. Enjoy.
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