Paella on the Grill!

As I mentioned in my Scannicchio’s post, my father’s dear friend and his daughter came to visit Philadelphia a few weeks back. Last time my parents went to visit Pat in New Hampshire, they came home raving about his paella made entirely on the grill. Sounds interesting, I thought. My mother made her own delicious version this past summer but I knew I had to try the original. On a cold weekday evening, my husband, dog and I made our way to my parents’ house to finally see what this paella was all about.

Pat had spent the day touring colleges but made sure to hit up the Reading Terminal (my family’s go-t0 spot) for lunch and a little grocery shopping. By the time my husband and I got my my parents’ place, Pat had already prepared his mise en place of chicken, onion, chorizo and shrimp.

The clams were outside soaking in salt water. Pat’s theory is that the clams would feel more comfortable in a “natural habitat” and would thus be more likely to loosen up and release any sand and grit. Who knows.

Meanwhile, my dad’s homemade chicken stock (go Dad!) was bubbling away on the stove. Check out the rich, caramel color!

Finally it was time to bring the ingredients out back to the grill. Pat began by sautéing the onions, chicken and chorizo in the pan in a small amount of olive oil. The point is to infuse the olive oil so that when the roast is toasting, it takes in all of the delicious flavors of the onions and proteins.

While Pat was busy working out back, we were busy inside.

Just another Wednesday night, y’all.

Next, Pat toasted the rice in the flavored oil with added saffron. He used arborio (risotto rice) because it is the closest to the specific Spanish rice that he could find.

Remember, all of the cooking is happening on the grill, my friends. Once the rice was sufficiently toasted and aromatic, he began adding the stock ladle by ladle-full, similar to a risotto preparation. Once the rice was mostly cooked through, he added the chicken, chorizo, peas, clams and shrimp along with a healthy dash of saffron (well, this was “saffron” my mother purchased quite inexpensively in Israel so we had some conversation regarding the authenticity of the herb.)

The shrimp and clams went in raw due to their short cooking time. My mother and Pat had a brief “conversation regarding whether the clams should face up or down (Pat wanted down so the juices would release into the dish. Mom wanted up so it would look pretty. Pat won.)

We closed the grill and finished off the last of our champagne.  After a brief but impatient wait, the finished product was brought to the table straight from the grill.

Beautiful! My favorite parts were the crispy rice and chorizo.

Because Pat and Emily were visiting Philadelphia, we had to have cannoli for dessert (well, I went in for cannoli and came out with a few extras including my favorite pignolis and my mom’s favorite Irish potatoes. Something for everyone!)