Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It All Started With Sausage

Over the weekend I picked up a package of Basque sausage. Having no idea what I would use it for, I was nonetheless filled with fond memories of happy evenings in Nevada's homey Basque dinner houses.
There's aways pasta, or a sauté with broccoli rabe but those just didn't seem to pay enough tribute to my little treasure. I wandered around the internet when suddenly it hit me, a basque style paella. Contrary to my usual food form nothing style I dashed down to the store for a few crowning touches ad came home to invent my baked -- just too much work to stand at the stove or grill -- paella. First I browned seasoned chicken thighs and legs in plenty of olive oil and removed them from the pan. Next I browned the sausages, cut them into one inch pieces and set them aside. I wiped out the pan added more olive oil and sautéed chopped onion, red pepper, garlic, and a good dose of pimenton dulce until the onion was transparent and soft. I added in 2 cups of arborio rice (well it's Italian but a close substitute) and let the rice toast in the oil. Next went in a few slices of Jamon Serrano, chopped, a handful of green olives, some grilled artichoke hearts, chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup of wine I had dissolved a good sized pinch of saffron threads in and 1 1/4 cup of chicken broth. I nestled the browned chicken and sausages down in the rice along with mussels, clams, and jumbo shrimp. I brought the liquid up to a boil and popped the whole dish in the oven for about 35 minutes at 450º.
"Wow," James said. "I don't think anyone else is getting a dinner like this."

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