Daring Cooks: Paella with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes: Arroz marinero con setas, sepia y alcachofas

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Olga of Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes is our hostess for this month’s Daring Cooks Challenge.  I was excited to see that she chose one of Jose Andres’ recipes, for the obvious reason, after all he is Jose and because we love the cuisine of this part of the world.

August has been a very busy month for us, so I was not sure when I would get a chance to make this dish at home.    Now when I say busy, I am really not even sure why I am saying busy.  Work is terribly slow, reminds me of 6 years ago when we started the company, never the less, we are busy trying to get busy.  I guess you could really say, the past few months have been challenging for us.  We are in the process of making decisions about work, where to live and basically the next step in our lives – BIG!  Anyhow, while we have this extra down time (not working a whole heck of a lot), we have been taking a long weekends, to head to the mountains to camping, regroup and to enjoy some warmth.  You see … San Francisco is not the city to be in if you love warm summers.  Anyhow, I knew or at least I hoped this recipe would be perfect for one of our weekend excursions……

We planned this cookout according to a “group” camp weekend up in Tuolumne.  We are very adventurous with our camp cookery but we have never made anything remotely like Paella.  This would be a challenge – maybe!

We checked into our bear equipped camp late last Friday, yes, I said bear equipped.  As  mentioned this was suppose to be a “group” camp weekend, so we had to check in with a ranger, who proceeded to tell us Smoky and the gang had just waltzed through our site about 2 hours before.   Now bears are kind of like sharks in my book, it is fine if they are around where I am playing, just don’t play on my playground!  We got to our site .. no other peeps were there!  So we did the next best thing, popped open a bottle of red wine, set up camp and got our camp fire going;  did I mention … it was freezing!  It was time to tackle Paella!

The easy thing about eating “gourmet” or “very well” when you are camping is to be prepared.  I pre measure everything  I am going to use before leaving.  I freeze the items that can be frozen and the rest we keep on ice in a small cooler.  As well we have a box that is filled with a couple pans, a couple plates, utensils, glasses, etc…  It is basically ready to do at the drop of a hat.

I was a little nervous about making a paella while camping so I prepped a little more than I usually would.  For instance I made the Sofreigit before leaving the city and froze it.  This definitely helped with the actual cooking.  As well I used canned artichokes since the fresh ones were pretty pricey – $3.49 each!  Next time, I will spring for fresh.  Not only was it romantic to cook over the campfire, but it was a lot of fun … sizzling calamari, sauteed mushrooms!  I used a brown short grain rice, you know, to keep it healthy.  The problem with cooking rice at altitude, it took ALONG time, a whole bottle of white wine, and 2 cups of water and the entire jar of Sofreigit.  I think the best part of the evening was Lenny making the alioli by using his “big cannons” and a mason jar.  He came very close but not quite there … regardless, it is a must for this dish!

Be sure to check out our highlights of the adventure as well as all the other Daring Cooks.

Highlights from the High Country!

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Recipe:  Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Equipment:

  • 1 Chopping Board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 1 Paella pan (30 cm/11” is enough for 4 people. If not available, you may use a simple pan that size)
  • 1 Saucepan

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or frozen if fresh are not available)
  • 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
  • 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 Cuttlefish (you can use frozen cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)
  • “Sofregit” (see recipe below)
    300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person). Please read this for more info on suitable rices.
  • Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
  • Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
  • Alioli  – optional

Directions:

Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.   Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.  Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.  Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.

Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.  Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.  Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.  Add all the liquid and bring it to boil. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.  Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.  Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”).  Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Touch of ground cumin
  • Touch of dried oregano

Directions:

Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.  Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)

Alioli is an optional part in the recipe. I highly recommend you to try traditional one. Alioli is served together with the rice and it gives a very nice taste.

Alioli (Traditional recipe)

Cooking time: 20 min aprox.

Ingredients:

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)

Directions:

  • Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)Add the lemon juice to the garlic.  Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.  Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.

Comments

  1. I love that you made this challenge recipe whilst on a camping adventure. That certainly added another dimension to your efforts, including the bear consideration. Great job all around!

  2. I LOVE that prepared and cooked this dish while camping and over a campfire! Not only unique, but as you mentioned, romantic! Also, great, mouth watering photo of it..very nicely done!

  3. Love the look of your dish. And what a nice fun to cook it outdoors :)

  4. You guys are so hardcore! Well done!

  5. Very impressed that you cooked this while camping! That’s awesome!

  6. I totally agree with Alice — hardcore! I wouldn’t dare do this during camping, but you guys pulled it off so nicely! Oh, and what happy campers you must be with this meal. :) Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos, too! Wish I was there.

  7. Cooking over a fire is my absolute favorite. This is the perfect recipe for it too. Excellent job.

    I would kick a bear in the jewels if it tried to take my paella.

  8. You know what, I wouldn’t have thought of this as camping fodder but in hindsight it would work so well. It’s a one-pot dish and doesn’t require a lot of attention.

    Nice work incorporating this dish into your camping trip! :)

  9. What happy campers you were and the pictures are wonderous. Love how you used a log to cover the pot. And it seems that the final dish meet with your approval. And your first photo is superb. Cheers from Audax in australia

  10. Fabulous that you did the Daring Cooks challenge even while out camping (and the scenery is stunning!) The outcome of the dish looks incredibly delicious! Wow!

  11. Camping! Camping! Yes, we are doing that tonight however, we are far less adventurous with a bunch of newborns-5 yr olds. We are camping out in a friends yard and my dish will be : Quinoa Salad. See, not adventurous either. No cooking on site and no cuttlefish involved. You both amaze me and I can not wait to see what you decide for your future. XO

  12. Wow!! Lovely job making this while camping =D. Your dish looks amazing and your photos are gorgeous!!

  13. Paella is suppose to be made over a fire and hot coals. I’m glad to see someone did it. I was going to, but we had really hot muggy weather here in the midwest then torrential downpours the next week. Yours turned out great.

    I have a cast iron pan I see yours is enamel where on earth did you find it. I love mine but it took some time to figure out the heat retaining quality of the pan. Cast iron really holds heat and I couldn’t get it really hot otherwise the rice burns.

    Do you do any Dutch Oven cooking. We try to at least once a month. Looking forward to seeing more of your cooking. :)

  14. Kristin says:

    I think since you made this while camping with bears you should get the award for the “most daring” of the daring cooks. I’m making this tonight with mussels. I’m late for the challenge, but I don’t think that my taste buds will know the difference :)

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  1. [...] is easy to bring a long if you follow our tips.  We even bring homemade creme brulee!  Or make Paella, over the campfire.  The key to planning out your “gourmet” camp excursion is to plan [...]

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