Paella on the Keg
Paella is a traditional Spanish dish best cooked over hot charcoal, to tie the occasion together a little better, serve it the old fashioned way to your friends. Set the pan in the middle of the table and have everyone dig in, few things bring close friends even closer than one shared paella pan.
6 Bone in chicken breasts with skin
3 cups of a Spanish variety of short grain rice or Arborio
1 green pepper
2 red peppers chopped into chunks
2 cups of fresh green beans halved
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 sprigs of rosemary
6 cups of chicken stock
2 teaspoons of smoked sweet paprika
20 or so threads of saffron
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 Paella pan, roughly 15 inches
In one bowl, mix the rice, saffron, rosemary, salt, and paprika. In another bowl add the peppers, beans halved and garlic. In a third bowl, cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze out and strain the seeds then grate the meat into the bowl, ditch the seeds and skins but keep all of the juices and meat. Rub your chicken breasts lightly with olive oil and a grind of pepper, leave them on the plate. At this point start heating up your chicken stock, if you add cold chicken stock later it will slow down the cooking process.
Heat your paella pan directly over hot charcoal, medium high around 450°F. Add a splash of oil into the pan just before you add the chicken and make sure the meat sizzles as it hits the pan, if there’s no sizzle wait until it gets hotter. Sear the chicken on both sides and allow it to cook solo for up to 15 minutes, then put it around the rim of the pan and add the vegetables, put a sear on them. Stir vegetables occasionally for up to five minutes then add the grated tomato, stir into the vegetables then let cook stirring occasionally again for up to another 5 minutes.
Briefly remove the chicken from the pan and pour in the rice, stir it in with the vegetables and add chicken stock about 3 to 4 cups until the rice and vegetables are nearly submerged. Replace the chicken on top of everything, evenly spread about the pan. Let cook for ten minutes but keep an eye on the liquid level if it looks dry add chicken stock only in the dry spots. At ten minutes add a generous amount of chicken stock then wait another ten minutes using the same defensive strategy. Do not stir the rice at all this whole time, the bottom of the pan is creating wonderful caramelized rice and vegetables, too much moisture and any stirring will stop this critical delicious process. Remember in between visits to the Keg to always close the lid.
When done, remove the pan from the Keg, cover and let stand for up to ten minutes before serving, the paella will continue to cook after being removed, do not remove it from the pan, it’s all part of the presentation. Then... Dig in!