Gameplan: Paella Fiesta

1 Day Ahead:
Clean shellfish and refrigerate
Make gazpacho and prepare garnishes
Make sofrito
Make sangria

On The Day:
Season and garnish gazpacho
Brown chicken and sofrito
Assemble and bake paella
Replace fruit in sangria with fresh


Prep Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 1/2 Cups

2 1/2 pounds vine-ripened or canned tomatoes, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, or to taste
1 tablespoons olive oil
Ice water or tomato juice for thinning soup
Croutons and finely diced tomato, green bell pepper, and cucumber, for garnish

In a blender puree chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, and cucumber, garlic paste, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Chill soup well, preferably overnight.

Thin soup with ice water or tomato juice and serve topped with croutons and finely diced vegetables. Correct seasoning.
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While this dish does require substantial prep time, the results are well worth the extra effort! It is a beautiful dish and everything comes out cooked to perfection. You can substitute scallops for the clams and add
them at the same time as the peas.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 6 Servings

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced onions
1 each small-sized sweet red and green bell peppers,
seeded, and cut into strips
1 cup drained, chopped canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 (2 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces, patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 chorizos, sliced into 1/4-inch thick half circles
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron or saffron threads
5 to 6 cups simmering chicken stock
12 extra-large shrimps in their shells,
shelled and deveined, leaving tails intact
12 hard-shelled clams, such as littlenecks, scrubbed
12 mussels, scrubbed
1 cup peas
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Minced fresh parsley

Make The Sofrito:
In a heavy 12-inch skillet heat 3 tablespoons olive oil until hot, add the onions, and pepper strips and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring for 5 minutes more, until most of the liquid in the pan evaporates and the mixture is thick.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In the skillet heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderately high heat until hot. Add the chicken and cook it, turning. Add sausages and cook until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and deglaze pan with 1/2 cup dry white wine.

About a 30 minutes before you plan to serve the paella, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a 14-inch paella pan or shallow casserole at least 14-inches in diameter, combine the sofrito, rice, and the saffron. Pour in 5 cups simmering stock and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and season with salt. Arrange the chicken, sausage, shrimp, clams, and mussels on top of the rice. Set the pan on the floor of the oven or the lowest shelf and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Scatter the peas at random over the whole and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more or until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice and the grains are tender but not too soft. If necessary, add the remaining cup stock, if the rice needs to be more soft. Do not stir the paella once it goes in oven.

Let paella stand at room temperature covered with a cloth for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with the lemons and parsley.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 6 Cups

1 orange, sliced thin
1 lemon, sliced thin
2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar, or to taste
1 bottle chilled dry red wine
1/2 cup cognac
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup chilled seltzer or club soda
Ice cubes

In a bowl, muddle the orange and lemon slices with the sugar with a wooden spoon. Add the red wine, cognac, orange liqueur, and orange juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a punch bowl, chill until ready to serve and then stir in seltzer and add ice cubes.
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