Tyler Florence-Ultimate Paella
So I finally ventured out and made Tyler Florence's Ultimate Paella last night after purchasing the pan almost over a year ago. I would have to say even though it was my first time making it, it came out pretty good. However, to achieve perfection I have a few questions.
1) I made the dish stove top in the Paella pan. I put the pan over two burners. However, my house was getting really smokey. Was this because this was the first time making the dish and the pan was not seasoned? I seasoned it the night before with canola oil and placed it in the oven.
2) I started to fry the whole chicken skin down in the pan. I realized this was going to take too long so I moved it on the skillet. Should I have had the butcher cut it in smaller pieces, next time? It was 10 pieces of chicken. Should I have used the wings?
3) Since I was cooking it stove top there were some parts of the rice not fully cooked. Eventually, everything cooked and sucked up the water. However, some pieces of rice were still al dente. How can I avoid this next time?
4) The recipe called to add the shrimp when the rice was al dente.So when I put the shrimp in it cooked too fast. Should I just avoid this and put the shrimp in the last few minutes?
5) The chorizo I purchased from Whole foods- was a bit though any recommendations on a better and cheaper brand?
6) It burned at the bottom. was this cause I was cooking it on the stove top?
Thanks for your help!
1) A pan spanning two burners has a difficult time maintaining an even level of heat over its entire surface. "Smokey", when it comes to a Paella pan, suggests the heat was too high somewhere. Where Tyler speaks to using medium-high heat, he's at the browning stages for the chorizo and chicken. Where the recipe talks about "simmer" (when the rice is introduced) the heat has to come way down. I also don't understand why he uses water when a good fish stock or chicken stock would be much better; IMO.
2) Cut up the chicken (breasts, thighs) and limit your chicken to those pieces. Wings? No.
3) Stir, stir, stir. That's what making Paella requires in its initial phase of development. Think medium/low heat, stir, stir, stir.
4) Hold the shrimp until the very last few minutes of cooking. They cook in about 2 minutes. I don't know where Tyler got the 8 minute cooking time for shrimp. But I disagree with his assessment in that regard.
5) I don't use chorizo in Paella. Can't help there.
6) Nope, cooking it on the stove top wasn't the problem. Heat too high or uneven heat was the problem; perhaps along with not keeping the mixture moving in the initial stages of preparation.
Stirring might be right when cooking the meats and vegetables, but questionable after adding the rice. I've see Jose Andres be quite adamant about not disturbing the rice once the liquid has been added. This isn't a risotto.
Ideally there should be a toasted rice crust, but it should not be burnt. A beginner shouldn't worry about getting soccarat.
Yeah, I agree paulj. At least throughout the second half of the prep. period, the rice should be left pretty much alone. But in the initial phase it is, IMO, important to keep the liquids evenly distributed until the rice begins to absorb some of it so that the absorption is relatively consistent throughout the mix.
"This isn't risotto" - love it. ;>}
I agree with paulj's comments. I usually start paella on the stove and finish on a round weber charcoal grill, second choice gas grill, and third choice the oven.
I looked at the TF recipe instructions and think the proportions are off. What size paella pan were you using and how many people were you planning to serve?
I like The Spanish Table's recipe approach because it gives ingredient recommendations as a ratio per person. The largest pan I have is around 16-17 inches and I don't think I have ever used more than 3 cups of Bomba style rice for serving about 10-12 people, and the liquid to rice ratio is about 4 to 1.
What diameter is the pan? How much rice did you use? How thick was the rice layer?
I've best luck, when using a 12" pan, starting it on the stove top, but moving it to the oven (with a light foil cover) after adding rice and liquid. While on the burner I moved it around to apply heat to various parts of the pan.
With larger pans, the best way to get even heat (that includes even rice cooking) is with a custom multi ring gas burner, or a distributed fire, e.g. using twigs and vine trimmings if in Spain, or a backyard grill.