This vibrant, nourishing, easy to make paella holds a special place in our family and in many other LatinX family homes for centuries. This dish is for family gatherings to share and relax. Pair this paella with a dry rosé, light red wine or even a Riesling, grab a perfectly crunchy crusty baguette and serve with a smile because you know it’s about to be a great time!
It’s National LatinX Heritage month September 15th through October 15th. I wanted to share a recipe that is dear to my heart and roots. Growing up I remember my dad making paella. Normally he would make it after a long week of work. He would head to the grocery store and come back with all the ingredients. I remember the kitchen smelling so good as he added in every ingredient.
While my dad cooked in the house, we would set the table outside. When it was time to eat, all I remember was great times. So much laughter and happiness surrounded the table.
As I got older, this dish became a bigger part of my story. Growing up I didn’t know much about my heritage. Due to the fact that I was adopted. There was so many missing links.
One Christmas, my mom got us all DNA kits to find out more about our roots. It came no surprise when I got my DNA results back that I was Latina. I knew this all my life, but not from where.
As I read more about my DNA, I discovered that I was Iberian (Spaniard & Portuguese) and Central American (Costa Rican & Belizean). I was in awe and so excited that I finally had some answers about who I was. After that, paella was just a little but more special to me. If you didn’t know, paella originated in Spain.
History and Origins of Paella
Valencia, Spain is home of paella. It is one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean. That also happens to be near the most important rice-producing areas in Spain since rice was introduced by the Moors way over 1000 years ago.
Paella is one of the most popular dishes around the world. To have to define exactly what paella contains is virtually impossible. Not one paella is the same. There are so many variations of paella, depending on where it is being made! Typically paella includes chicken, prawns, mussels or clams, bell peppers and saffron flavored rice. Some versions will also include a spicy sausage like ours.
Wine Pairing with Paella
Everyone has their favorite wine and there is no right or wrong answer in our house. Some people may say that Chardonnay or a Red Wine pairs well with this dish. We normally let the person eating decide what they would like with it.
Paella is normally eaten in a relaxed setting, like family gatherings or an a chill Saturday afternoon. You might not think to pair paella with rosé, but it actually pairs beautifully. A lightly chilled dry rosé from the Navarra or Rioja region, one that is not too fruit driven can be the perfect match. As well as a red Rioja, garnacha, garnacha blends, and even lighter reds!
We try to avoid a very strong fruit flavor or overly alcoholic (we’ve all had a wine like this) one because it takes away from the dish. Our best advice is to play around with your palate and see what you think works best for you. We might like a certain pairing, while you might like a Blanc or Riesling. The choice is yours!
In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and sauté until almost done.
Add onions and garlic, sauté until onions are soft.
Then add in the rice and saffron, stirring to coat with the oil for about a minute or two.
Pour in wine, broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil (this will take anywhere between 5-10 minutes), and scraping the bottom of the pan so nothing sticks every so often.
While the rice is being brought to a boil. In a separate pan cook linguica until fully cooked.
When the broth begins to boil, add in bell peppers, peas and linguica.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Lastly add shrimp, clams, and mussels. Cook fo 15 minutes or until rice is completely done! Add in a pinch of salt if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
Enjoy your meal! This is by far one of my favorite dishes to enjoy with family and friends. There is so much nostalgia. The memories made in the kitchen with my family are so dear to my heart. I learned how to make this from my father and I hope someday I can pass this down to my future child if I am so lucky. This is one of the reasons why I started food blogging.
The learning. The moments. The connections. The memories. All the wonderful things that are shared over a meal. Whether the dish was handed down from generation to generation, making cookies as a family, learning something new, celebrating, enjoying each other’s company or even learning about your heritage. This is truly living the tastiest life.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breast, cubbed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 tsp saffron
- 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 pound linguica
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 large green bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup peas
- 4-6 large shrimp, raw shell on
- 4-6 small clams
- 4-6 small mussels
- In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and sauté until almost done.
- Add onions and garlic, sauté until onions are soft.
- Then add in the rice and saffron, stirring to coat with the oil for about a minute or two.
- Pour in wine, broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil (this will take anywhere between 5-10 minutes), and scraping the bottom of the pan so nothing sticks every so often.
- While the rice is being brought to a boil. In a separate pan cook linguica until fully cooked.
- When the broth begins to boil, add in bell peppers, peas and linguica.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Lastly add shrimp, clams, and mussels. Cook fo 15 minutes or until rice is completely done! Add in a pinch of salt if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
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