Paella is one of those dishes I have seen and thought I could never make. I always felt that it was totally complicated and that to make it would require so much culinary expertise that I couldn't handle it. It is also one of those dishes that has so much seafood in it that I knew I wouldn't like it. I don't really like seafood. I don't eat fish. To me, paella was all about the seafood.
I thought about making something else in the pan but since it is a paella pan, it didn't feel right.
I received the pan and immediately could see this is a really quality pan. It is well made. The aluminum construction allows for fast heating. The non-stick interior is fantastic because nothing sticks to it. The handles are sturdy and do not get burning hot when the pan is hot. The interior bottom has a cool Thermospot heat indicator that turns solid to let you know that the pan is pre-heated and ready to use. Loved that!
The bottom of the pan has a very pretty design. I wish I had a hanging post rack because the pan would look great. The pan can also be popped into the oven and works with all types of stoves.
So here I was making paella for the first time. If you follow my other blog, you know I post a lot of recipes there because I love to cook and eat. So this review was right up my alley. To begin with, I perused the internet and, specifically, the Food Network to find a recipe. I found tons.
I ended up printing up 4 that I took bits and pieces from. The recipe I took most from was one from Ingrid Hoffman herself. I took some tips from the other recipes but her recipe was the best one overall. It did feature scallops but I just left that ingredient out.
I started out with one whole chopped onion, 6 chopped garlic cloves and one red and yellow pepper julienned. I began with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and then added the onions, garlic and peppers and sauteed them. I then added some chorizo.
I was supposed to use Spanish chorizo. I could not find Spanish chorizo here in old Sylva, NC so I tried the next best thing: Mexican Chorizo. I took it out of the casing and added it to the pan. Then I took some chicken thighs I cut into cubes and added them to the an as well. I also added salt, pepper, Spanish paprika and saffron.
Next, I added some andouille sausage. I figured that the Mexican chorizo with the andouille sausage would sort of make up for the fact I had no Spanish chorizo.
After mixing all the ingredients, I added the rice along with a can of drained whole tomatoes. I made sure to drain the tomatoes but kept the liquid and added as needed when I added the other liquid. I cooked the mixture for about 5 minutes. On another burner, I had some broth and white wine boiling. I started added the broth and wine mixture slowly to the paella pan.
Making the paella was sort of like making a risotto but easier. I didn't have to stand there and stir. I would add the liquid and then let it soak in and add more liquid and stir. Once all the liquid was added, the recipe called to put some aluminum foil over the pan and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
I just played it by ear. I would test the rice to make sure it was getting cooked. After 20 minutes, I added the shrimp and peas and let it cook about 10 minutes more.
What I loved about this pan is that it held all those billion ingredients with no problem. I can also attest it is very nonstick. I was distracted by the TV for a minute or so and when I got back to the pan the liquid was almost gone and I checked the bottom and it was browning up but it did not stick at all. I think I could have gotten a nice crust on the bottom as well if I wasn't so darn hungry to eat my masterpiece.
Let me tell you that my paella was one of the most beautiful dishes I have ever created. It was a sight to behold. But best of all, it was delicious. I was so surprised as how good it was. Having the paella pan really, really helped. It was the perfect thing to make a great paella. I know I will be making this again and again.
I have to mention that the pan was a snap to clean. I just tossed it in hot soapy water and wiped it clean. It is also dishwasher safe but I have a tiny demented dishwasher so it was easier to hand wash it.
My only complaint is that it does not come with a lid. A lid would be the one thing that would make this pan even better. Using foil was a pain but it worked. I will have to try and find one somewhere. I cannot wait to try it again!
Because paella is a perfect dish for entertaining, I will be using this pan a lot. I am sure that it would also be great to make risotto, eggs or any casserole dish. Hence, the need for a lid! This paella pan gets a total thumbs up from me. I loved it. I saw a few more pans I need as well. Hubby might be have a huge "What to get me for Christmas" list this year!!