Chef Dan is a law student with a passion for food—and is all about creating fun, and delicious recipes that bring people together. He believes that cooking should be a simple, enjoyable, and most importantly, a fun experience that can be shared with friends and family.
Chef Dan enjoys capturing and sharing his photography on his Instagram page and on his blog.
Website: thechefdan.com // Instagram: @danseidman
Paella is one of my all-time favourite summer meals. Ever since I first made it several years back over an open fire, it has been a summer staple. Keep in mind that you do not have to cook paella over an open fire. You can make it on any outdoor grill, or inside on a stove. If you have the opportunity to cook over an open fire, I’d definitely recommend it!
Paella is an impressive dish. Once you’ve got the fundamentals down, it’s incredibly easy to get consistently delish results. The key to good paella is slowly developing a deep and flavourful sofrito, which is a sauce used as a base in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Latin American Cooking. The sofrito in this paella consists of onions, garlic, red pepper, tomato, and bay leaves. It takes over an hour to make, but it’s worth every minute. The sofrito can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge, if necessary.
Paella can be made with a variety of ingredients and although not necessarily traditional, pork loin makes for an incredible main protein. It pairs perfectly with the other proteins, which in this case are shrimp and chorizo.
There are a few unique ingredients that are essential for paella, and a few that are optional. Some things that you definitely need are saffron and smoked paprika. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world, but don’t worry, you just need a tiny bit. Paella is a rice dish after all, so the rice is quite important as well. If you can get a hold of bomba rice, it works best. It’s a type of Spanish rice that is traditional for paella. If not, arborio is a decent substitute and is easy to find.
For me, making paella is all about the fun experience and I think you’ll agree!
Pork Loin Paella
Yield: Serves 6
Prep time: 2 hours (including Sofrito)
Cook time: 45 minutes
For the Sofrito:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 red pepper, finely diced
- 2 vine ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Kosher salt
For the Paella:
- 1 lb pork loin, cut into small cubes
- 1 lb shrimp, shell on
- 125 grams, Spanish chorizo, cut in half lengthwise, and then into ¼“ strips
- 2 cups bomba rice
- ¾ cup wine
- 1,200 ml chicken stock
- 2 pinches of Saffron
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- Handful of snap peas
- Kosher salt
- 2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
- Lemon wedges
- Handful of chopped parsley, for garnish
To make the Sofrito:
- Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a heavy bottomed pan. Add onion, garlic, a pinch of salt, and bay leaves and stir occasionally for about 15 minutes until onions are softened.
- Add red pepper, and cook for an additional 20 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Finally, add the chopped tomato (remember to remove the skin and seeds) and cook for an additional hour, stirring occasionally. The sofrito should be thick, and almost jam-like. If it starts to take on too much colour, reduce heat to low. Set aside.
To prepare the Paella:
- Season both the shrimp and pork loin with salt and pepper and heat olive oil in a 15” paella pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes, until the fat has rendered, and it is beginning to crisp. Remove chorizo from pan and set aside.
- Add pork loin to pan and cook for another 7-10 minutes, until almost cooked through, remove from pan and set aside.
- Add shrimp to pan, and cook on one side only for 30 seconds, until the shell has turned pink, remove from pan and set aside.
- If necessary, add more olive oil to the pan. Add about 1/2 cup of the prepared sofrito to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
- Add in all the rice and stir well to ensure each grain is coated in the oil and sofrito. Continue to toast the rice until you hear the rice starting to crack and sizzle. Add in the paprika and saffron.
- Add the chorizo and pork loin back to the pan followed by the wine and continue to stir the rice, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook wine off for 1 minute and then pour in the stock.
- Ensure the rice is evenly distributed and bring to a boil. From this point, do not stir the rice.
- Once the stock has boiled, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover for about 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Once the paella is almost dry, add the shrimp back to the pan, cooked side up along with the snow peas and increase the heat to high for 5 minutes. The increase in heat is important to develop a crust on the bottom of the rice.
- Remove from heat, and allow the paella to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
TIP: When serving the paella, be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with each serving to ensure everybody gets some of the delicious crispy rice at the bottom.