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Paella Pointers

lobstagal Dec 12, 2012 07:22 PM

I am hoping to make paella for the first time on Christmas Eve. Any tips for buying a paella pan and has any one ever tried cooking it outside on a charcoal grill? NE weather being what it is it could be a bit dicey but I thought I would give it a go. Serving 8 people. Any and all suggestions are welcome. Just please don't tell me I am crazy!!

  1. c
    catsmeow Dec 13, 2012 12:53 AM

    I would try it ahead of time first.

    1. itaunas Dec 13, 2012 02:04 AM

      China Fair carries carbon-steel paella pans in various sizes for decent prices (was slightly cheaper than La Tienda, bit more than some ebay sellers) and they said that the Needham store has a wide selection of sizes as well as aluminum pans. That info is 1+yr old when they had roughly 15, 19, and 21" pans in Cambridge.

      Christina's, Las Ventas, and Formaggio should have Bomba rice, although I have also randomly found it at Marshalls. Larger Market Baskets tend to have Goya "valencia" and other short grained rices (good for practicing).

      I might end to recommend stove+oven or stove alone over the charcoal grill this time of year, unless you have something well insulated where you can control the temp fairly well (green egg). Uninsulated metal kettles and cold wind over an open pan is going to give you inconsistent results. After the rice is cooked you can get socarrat by returning to a hot burner. Not at all crazy to try, but practicing first is a good suggestion.

      3 Replies
      1. re: itaunas
        lobstagal Dec 13, 2012 05:39 AM

        thank you! I will check out those local places and take to heart what you are saying about cooking outdoors. The romantic in my wants to try it, but your point makes good sense -- uncooked rice is pretty unappealing! Maybe just a quick visit to the grill at the very end to form the soccarat and sooth my adventurous spirit!

        1. re: lobstagal
          huuvola Dec 13, 2012 06:24 AM

          My suggestions:
          --Definitely give it a test run before Christmas eve. There's an art to making good paella, and it's hard to master on the first try.

          --If you get a carbon-steel pan (recommended), keep in mind you'll need to clean it first (most of them come with a thin layer of protective oil that you'll want to remove before using with food).

          --I had great luck purchasing online through this site: www.paellapans.com. But I'm sure there are local options as well.

          --Read more than one paella recipe to get a sense of the different techniques. This video has some good tips for authentic paella (and the full recipe is at the site above):

          1. re: huuvola
            lobstagal Dec 13, 2012 06:32 AM

            I was just scouring the paellapans.com site when your reply came in! I think that is the route I am taking. Great video too --thanks!

      2. Veggo Dec 13, 2012 06:09 AM

        I don't see what the advantages would be to cooking it outdoors, and paella on the stovetop makes a house smell like a home. Go heavy on the saffron and garlic!

        7 Replies
        1. re: Veggo
          lobstagal Dec 13, 2012 06:33 AM

          Great point about filling the home with paella smells --and I am with you on the saffron and garlic! now I am really getting hungry --thanks!!

          1. re: Veggo
            StriperGuy Dec 13, 2012 06:54 AM

            You can get enough heat on a home stove to get the propper socarrat (crust) on the bottom of the pan.

            1. re: StriperGuy
              cassis Dec 14, 2012 05:17 AM

              Note that the bottom of the pan is slightly convex because it's meant to be nestled in the ashes. So on a flat stove top the rice will cook unevenly unless you stir it around a bit.

              1. re: cassis
                lobstagal Dec 14, 2012 05:28 AM

                Thanks! I am thinking we will cook inside until the end and then go outside to crust up the bottom evenly and to satisfy my yen to cook outdoors in December in New England! :)

                1. re: lobstagal
                  opinionatedchef Dec 15, 2012 12:42 AM

                  just a caution; you really want to watch that crust- because burned crust flavor will permeate the rest of the rice.( Had repeat problems with this at Toro on last visit.)

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    lobstagal Dec 15, 2012 04:06 AM

                    Will do -- burnt rice is pretty yucky! thanks!!

                2. re: cassis
                  Veggo Dec 14, 2012 05:29 AM

                  Another + for a gas range, which is not an option where I live in FL. Love it in Mexico.

            2. c
              Cork Dec 17, 2012 09:27 AM

              If you are in a pinch for rice, Sur La Table always carries Bomba or Calasparra rice - expensive but NECESSARY.
              I make paella every New Years Eve.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cork
                lobstagal Dec 17, 2012 12:31 PM

                YES! I invested in some Bomba --but I am practicing today with some basic med. grain rice from the local market --just to get my technique down...THANKS!

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