Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Paella

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.

We're coming into the holiday season, and that means big tables of families and friends hanging out in the kitchen and surrounding the dinner table. It's also a great time of year to serve paella, a rice dish from Valencia, on the eastern coast of Spain, that gets its name from the dish it's cooked in. There are dozens upon dozens of recipes for paella, but the three constants are olive oil, rice and saffron. In this recipe, Pete uses piquillo peppers to give it a boost. "This a great recipe for a crowd, and it's got something for everyone: veggies, chicken, fish, sausage and big shrimp," says Barb, who recommends pairing it with a Rioja.



1 dry chorizo sausage, sliced into 1-inch coins 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 or 6 pieces each 1/2 cup Spanish olive oil 2 medium onions, peeled and diced 2 yellow bell peppers, chopped 4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and diced 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes 1 16-ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered 4 cups bomba or short-grain paella rice 7 cups light pork or chicken broth 1 cup clam broth 1-2 grams saffron, crushed and threads 3/4 pound halibut, rinsed and cut into small portions 16 fresh uncooked shrimp, rinsed, heads intact 10-12 fresh mussels or 12-15 fresh clams (or a mixture), rinsed 1 jar piquillo peppers, drained 1/3 cup peas 2 lemons, cut into wedges


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Bring the clam and pork/chicken stock to a boil. 2. Heat the oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. 4. Add the sausage and quickly cook until it's browned. Transfer sausage to a separate plate. 4. Brown chicken in the rendered fat and reserve. 5. Add onions, garlic, yellow peppers and tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. 6. Add the rice and piquillo peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes. 7. Add the artichokes and let simmer for another 5 minutes. 8. Add the saffron to the boiling chicken/pork and clam broth and stir. 9. Slowly pour the boiling chicken/pork and clam broth and reserved fat from the sausage over the rice mixture and gently stir until it's evenly distributed throughout the pan. (Do not stir the rice after this point.) 10. Arrange and evenly distribute the seafood and fish. 11. Scatter peas on top. 12. Transfer paella dish to the oven and bake at 400 degrees, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes. 13. Cover with tinfoil or a towel and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Place the paella in the middle of the table and serve with lemon wedges.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson