Tag Archives: Rice

Remembering Spain with a Pan of Paella!

I have been thinking a lot lately about the trip we took to France and Spain last October. We had never been to Spain before, but we absolutely feel in love with the places we saw! Barcelona was my favorite spot, but Valencia is where I had what I would consider to be authentic paella.

Now, I know there are probably as many versions of paella as Imelda Marcos has shoes. Paella can be prepared many ways and it depends on where you are as to what you are going to get! I saw paella cooked with rice and with pasta (think spaghetti). With pasta it is called fideua. That is traditionally served in Barcelona. Both versions (rice and pasta) can be prepared with pork, chicken and sausage as well as all types of fish and seafood. Some dishes combine a little of each.

I do have to say that they know to serve the stuff up right in Barcelona! We saw the beginnings of a major paella party cranking up outside the Cathedral Sagrada Familia when we were visiting. Here is a picture of what happens when they get to whipping up a big ole batch of the stuff!

Now that's some paella!

I personally prefer the chicken and shrimp version with rice (Valencian paella). I opt out of the whole other seafood thing because you are never really sure what you are going to get (especially when you do not understand much Spanish). I saw some really creepy looking fish in those markets in Spain and the last thing I wanted was some of that stuff in my paella. They call certain seafood “monsters” for a reason! 😉

I have a recipe for paella that I loved to cook before I went to Spain. It was as good as anything I had here in the states and frankly, it was pretty easy and quick. Well, of course, that trip ruined things for me, so now, I prefer the really long version and it is sooooo worth it! That recipe I was using just does not have the depth of flavors that this more authentic version has. This new recipe tastes about as close as I can get to what I had in Valencia. I have made it a few times and it always turn out perfect.

The paella I had in Valencia had chicken and shrimp and some chorizo. This recipe I have found has the same ingredients. My hubby would rather have more seafood than what I care for and since I will not allow “monsters” in my food or anything resembling them, I throw a few Cherrystone Clams in for his benefit!

Not only is this paella authentic…we ate at traditional Spanish dining hours Saturday night! I was languishing on our back deck, enjoying the warm temperatures and a glass of wine with my hubby when I suddenly realized I needed to marinate the chicken and shrimp. Yikes! Dinner at 10 pm. When you plan to make this dish, be sure to plan ahead!

This recipe is adapted from Things Cooks Love by Marie Simmons (the book is available at Sur La Table – my hangout in the ATL)

Chicken, Shrimp, and Chorizo Paella
Serves 6-8

8 bone-in chicken thighs, or 1 large chicken cut into 10 pieces (cut the breast in half, so everything cooks evenly)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
18 large shrimp, peeled, with shells reserved, and deveined (I used 1 lb.)
10 Cherrystone clams
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, bruised, plus 2 tsp. minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish (if you wish)
5-6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I use Swanson’s Organic)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. saffron threads
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 (3-oz.) chorizos, casings removed and cut into 1/4 dice (Spanish chorizo if possible, which is cured, not fresh)
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes with the juices
1 1/2 cups Spanish rice (medium grain)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 lg. lemon, cut into 6-8 wedges, for garnish

1. Generously sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a large bowl or large resealable plastic bag. Add the shrimp, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the bruised garlic, and the chopped rosemary. Cover the bowl, or seal the bag, and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight.

2. In an 2 1/2 to 3 quart saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and cover to keep hot.

3. in a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until they turn dark red. Add 1 tsp. of the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Add the shrimp mixture to the chicken broth, bring to a simmer, re-cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Set a strainer over a clean saucepan and strain the broth. Discard the shells. Keep broth warm over low heat.

4. Crush the saffron in a mortar with a pestle, or place in a small cup and crush with the back of a spoon. Transfer to a small bowl and add a ladleful of the simmering broth. Cover and let stand until ready to use.

5. When ready to cook the paella, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place them on a plate. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-14 inch paella pan (set over 2 burners if necessary) or an extra-large skillet over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle the chicken. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook the other side for 5 to 8 minutes, or until browned. Return the chicken to a plate. *A splatter screen comes in handy for this sauteing!

6. Add the bell pepper, onion, chorizos, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are browned.

Add the paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the juices boil off and the tomato is dry. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and pour 4 cups of it over the rice. Add the reserved broth (with saffron) and stir into the other ingredients. Arrange the chicken pieces around the outer edges of the pan.

7. Cook uncovered over medium heat, without stirring, for 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed by the rice. Taste the rice and add more salt if needed.

8. Tuck the shrimp down into the partially cooked rice, concentrating them in the center area of the pan. Ladle 1 cup of the simmering broth over the rice and cook 5 minutes more. As the rice cooks, it will continue to absorb the broth. Add more broth as needed, tasting the rice each time. It should be tender, but firm. If you run our of broth before the rice is ready, use boiling water.

9. Sprinkle the peas on top. Tuck the clams into the rice and the broth. Lay a piece of extra-wide aluminum foil over the paella for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat and let the paella stand covered for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.



When you serve your paella, you should have a browned bottom that looks like this. No, you have not burned your paella! This is called socarrat and this just means you have properly prepared your dish. You actually want the rice and all the yummy juices to do this!

The important things you get to bring home with you from vacations are your memories, your photos, and perhaps some souvenirs. I always enjoy coming home and trying to recreate some of the fabulous dishes I had while I was traveling!

Buen apetito!

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Filed under Chicken, Entrees, Paella, Recipes, Rice, Shrimp, Spanish, Valencia

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp and My First Giveaway!

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a small company by the name of Country Bob’s. They wanted to know if I would be willing to give their All Purpose Sauces a try and let them know what I thought. Well, of course, we all like to get food goodies delivered to our door, so I said bring it on! Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauces arrived, as promised, in both the regular and spicy version.

This is a link to Country Bob’s website. Their products are sold in over 3000 stores in the United States, but honestly, I had never heard of them, so I was excited to give this stuff a try! I do know that they try to get the word out about their sauces by getting some bloggers to do posts. It is a great way to get noticed.

This is the information about their business and the All Purpose Sauce from their website:

In 1968 Country Bob perfected the sauce of his dreams. After years of giving the sauce to friends and family he began to sell it in 1977. The reaction was overwhelming just as it is today. Almost everyone who tries Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce becomes a lifelong user. And why not, it is the perfect complement to practically any meal set on your table.

It was actually October of 1982 when Country Bob, Inc. became the company, which remains today. Bob Edson,Terry Edson, Al Malekovic and Reed Malekovic formed a corporation with equal ownership. Since that time Country Bob’s distribution has magnified regionally in all directions from our corporate office located in Centralia, Illinois. Even with the tremendous growth we have not forgotten where we came from, continuing in our relentless pursuit of product excellence.

Along with our All Purpose Sauce we have expanded our product line to include BBQ Sauce, Seasoning Salt and Spicy All Purpose Sauce.With our fully automated bottling line we also have the capability of producing Private Label products for stores or restaurants.

Well, of course, you know which sauce I tried first (the spicy one!) 😉 It was hot and spicy with a bit of sweetness, so my mind started racing, thinking…I decided that we could do better than just a little review. We could whip up a few pounds of shrimp with that sauce! We don’t mess around when it comes to food in this house! (I told you I started thinking…and we all know that can be dangerous!)

I wanted to create a shrimp dish with a little barbecue flavor…maybe served on rice…kind of creole style…I can tell you one thing, don’t ever let your man hear the word barbecue because after that, I had more hands than I could count in my kitchen tossing in everything but the actual physical bottle of Country Bob’s sauce! Before I knew it, after tasting the final marinade, I was in Thailand and not in Louisiana! So, we altered the plating and enjoyed a little Thai shrimp!

I have to say, this is one awesome shrimp dish! It is spicy hot with a bit of sweet and tangy twist to it! I couldn’t get enough of the sauce with the rice. It was also great as a sopping sauce with crusty french bread! It’s messy, but that’s half the fun of eating shrimp!


This would also be a fabulous appetizer. Serve the shrimp skewered (as we did in the photo at the top of the post) and your guests will love it! I like the fact that this is a versatile recipe. It just depends how many shrimp you want to eat….! We wanted to eat lots (because it was soooo good), therefore, appetizer portions were not on our menu! 😉

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer
Serves 3-4 as an entree

2 pounds unpeeled, extra-large, fresh shrimp (We tried to find the ones with the heads on because they look so cool, but they were not available. If you do use them, you will need about 3 lbs. of shrimp.)

For marinade:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
1/2 cup Country Bob’s Spicy All Purpose Sauce
1/4 cup Thai Chili Sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Mix all ingredients. Add shrimp and toss thoroughly with the marinade. Place in a non-reactive, covered dish and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Periodically turn the shrimp over to marinate evenly.

To a large skillet add:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup Country Bob’s Spicy All Purpose Sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning

Garnish for finished dish – lemon slices and chopped parsley (*or cilantro)

Melt butter over medium low heat and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Add marinated shrimp and raise heat to medium high. Stir to fully cover shrimp. (The higher heat is required to compensate for the cold shrimp when placed in the skillet.) Cook 2-3 minutes then turn shrimp to cook other side and cook another 2-3 minutes. Turn heat down to medium low. Shrimp should be fully cooked in a total time of 5-6 minutes (depending on the size of your shrimp). Check often so as not to over cook.

* Since I was originally thinking Louisiana barbecued shrimp, I had lemon and parsley to serve with the dish. With the Thai flavors, I think a little squeeze of fresh lime juice would be nice at the end along with some cilantro to garnish the dish.

We also had a taste test with the regular All Purpose Sauce and tried it on grilled steaks. I would prefer to use a little of the sauce in ground meat and then cook it. I am sure mixing the meat with the sauce would give burgers (beef or turkey) an awesome flavor! These sauces have so much character, I like the idea of using them in dishes, rather than on top of them.

So, now that you have some idea what to do with this sauce, how would you like to have 2 bottles of Country Bob’s show up at your door in a little food goodie box??? Thanks to Al at Country Bob’s, we are giving away 2 sets of 2 bottles each of their All Purpose Sauce (one regular and one spicy).

The question is – How can I enter to win the sauces???

This is how you do it:

Leave a comment on this post telling me what you might cook with Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce. Be sure to have your name/blog somewhere on the comment that I can contact you if you are a winner.

Extra Entries:

Here are four additional ways that you can enter.

1. Follow @bunkycooks on Twitter. Leave a comment here indicating that you are now a follower. If you are already a follower, you can leave a comment saying you are.

2. Tweet about this giveaway. Leave a comment here with a link to your tweet.

3. Become a fan of Bunkycooks on Facebook. Leave a comment here indicating you are now a fan. If you are already a fan, you can leave a comment saying you are.

4. Subscribe to Bunkycooks by RSS feed or email. Leave a comment saying you are now a subscriber. If you are already a subscriber, you can leave a comment saying you are.

You have to play to win (and you can play one time or five times!) The more times you leave a comment, the more chances you have to win! I will be using random.org (or my dog) to pick a winner (just kidding about the dog)! 😉 The contest is only open to those of you in the US or Canada (I know, I know…bummer!)

This giveaway ends at 5 pm EST on Friday, March 19th.

Country Bob’s will be mailing the sauces direct to the winners, so I will need to hear back from the winners within 48 hours after notification to get your shipping info, otherwise, random.org will choose another winner.

GOOD LUCK!

Sweet and Spicy Thai Shrimp on Foodista

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Filed under Country Bob's, Entrees, Recipes, Rice, Shrimp, Thai

Brazilian Seafood Stew (Moqueca de Peixe)

This weekend post is my contribution to the Foodalogue’s Culinary Tour 2010 – South of the Border. I decided to go to Brazil!

I chose to make a Brazilian Seafood Stew (or Moqueca de Peixe). It is a dish which originates in the state of Bahia in Brazil. Bahia is located in the northeastern part of Brazil and its capital city is Salvador. Salvador is located where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bay of All Saints. It makes perfect sense to have a seafood stew as a representative dish from that area!

I was not familiar with preparing Moqueca de Peixe, although it sounded like something we would enjoy. I had an interesting time looking at recipes. There were many variations. Some had as few as 5 ingredients and some had a long list (of course, that is the one I chose!). I decided that this was the best combination of the recipes. I have also made several changes and additions to the original recipe.

I actually made the dish twice because I wanted to be sure the flavors were right on. We found the original seasonings to be a bit mild for our tastes, so we heated things up a bit! I find that a little heat goes really well with the coconut milk (reminiscent of Thai cooking). I used a Thai chili in place of the Serrano pepper, I threw in a pinch of saffron and also added a fair amount of Cholula sauce to the pot as well as the finished dish. We also liked additional fresh lime juice. It brightened up the flavors.

The original recipe called for scallops, however, most of the others did not, so I did not add them. I also substituted grouper for monkfish. I made my own shrimp stock to make it fresher tasting, since I had the shrimp shells to use, however, the you can use fish stock or clam juice. I think the fresh shrimp stock is less fishy and therefore, more appealing to me.

I thought finding Brazilian ingredients in Atlanta would be a cinch, however I was mistaken! The 2 ingredients that were nearly elusive were dende oil (palm oil) and farofa, however, I finally located them in a small Brazilian market. Apparently, the dende oil makes it a truly authentic Brazilian dish. I discovered that a side dish called farofa is traditionally served with the stew. It is basically a flour, that when cooked, has the consistency of couscous. It was a bit nutty in flavor. I also served the stew with jasmine rice and it was delicious as well, so do not chase all over town looking for farofa (like I did). I do think, however, that dende oil is a must and as I read online, do not substitute West African style palm oil. It is very different and much richer.

This was a delicious and light dish. It had very nice flavors, especially with the addition of a bit more heat and spice. I did check in with a native of Brazil and they said the preparation was as close to the real thing as it gets (without all the hot sauce!) . I hope you enjoy this taste of Brazil!

Here is my adaptation of the recipe from Food Network.

Moqueca de Peixe
Serves 6


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher salt and found that I needed to add quite a bit more than this at the end)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced (I used Thai chilis with the seeds!)
3 cups fresh shrimp stock (my recipe is below)
1 can (14 1/2 ounce) canned coconut milk (I used the full fat version)
Pinch of saffron
6 green onions, white and light green parts only, finely sliced
1 lb. grouper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
Juice of 1 lime plus a little more, to taste (we liked lots more!)
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (I used Cholula – you may want less heat than this)
2 Tbps. dende oil (see Note)
1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 limes, flesh cut into supremes and diced
Cooked farofa (recipe below) or cooked jasmine rice, for serving

Directions

Heat a large dutch oven over low heat and add the olive oil. Sweat the onion and peppers together for about 5 minutes, or until nicely softened.

Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and chiles and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the shrimp stock, coconut milk and saffron and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender. Add the green onions and all the fish, cover, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more, stirring together gently twice during the cooking time. Add the lime juice, dende oil, and cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Serve in large heated bowls, sprinkled with the diced limes. Serve with farofa or jasmine rice.

Shrimp Stock (adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse)

The original recipe calls for dried herbs. I used all fresh herbs. It makes a huge difference in taste!

2 lb. shrimp shells
2 qts. water
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf (fresh, if possible)
Several springs of thyme
Several sprigs of fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
Salt to taste (depending on what you are using this for)

Rinse the shrimp shells and then place them is a large stockpot with all the ingredients.

(You can tie your herbs up in cheesecloth for easier removal or just throw them in the pot along with the shrimp, like I did!). Bring to a boil and lower the temperature to simmer. Skim the stuff that rises to the top (yuck!). Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check for salt. When the stock is ready, strain the stockpot and cool immediately using an ice bath. Refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

* The original recipe also called for mushrooms. I did not have any on hand and it was delicious without them.

Farofa
2-3 servings

I made a small amount just to try it. You would need to make 2 or 3 times this amount to serve with the entire pot of stew.

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 onion
1 1/2 cups farofa flour

Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the onions and sauté until tender. Add the flour and continue stirring until the mixture resembles couscous (that would be the best description).

You may need to add a little more butter if this mixture gets too dry.


Enjoy your vacation to Brazil!

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Filed under Brazilian, Coconut Milk, Entrees, Farofa, Fish, Recipes, Rice, Seafood, Shrimp, Stew, Stock, Vegetables