Wine and Food Pairing presents Paella
KUVO Host Arturo Gomez contributes his favorite Paella recipe!
There are dozens of paella recipes and styles, and they vary region to region - seafood paellas, meatless paellas, rabbit and venison paellas. Even these three recipes have different ingredients, some with olives or green pepper, others with cilantro or parsley. The wine pairing will depend on how the cook manipulates their own recipe. Using Spanish, versus Mexican chorizo will also make a big difference. We tested the Seafood Paella with 6 different wines. While a Spanish Albarino or Red Rioja might be the wines typically of choice, these have been covered in previous food and wine pairings. Therefore we went with a different twist. The ultimate winners were a fino sherry for the white, and Emilio Bulfon's Piculit Neri for the red.
Sherry is generally an acquired taste. But even if you have never liked sherry, this is a pairing that works! When paired with the paella, the sherry picked up on all the rustic spices of saffron, paprika, parsley and while not overwhelming the delicacy of the seafood. The higher alcohol helped cut through and hold up to the chorizo and the chicken. Sherry should be served chilled and it finishes refreshingly clean.
Emilio Bulfon Piculit Neri was the red of choice. Piculit Neri is a unique and ancient varietal that has just been recently re-discoverred. Just on its 6th vintage, Emilio Bulfon is only distributed in Colorado, receiving about 800 cases. While it is very enjoyable on its own, it also paired wonderfully with the paella. The nose is fragrant and almost floral, with tastes of bing cherry and a clean, bright finish. The berry balances the spicy, slightly salty chorizo, and the balanced acids work with the "fried" chicken and rich seafood. The Piculit Neri has just enough structure to hold up to the complexity of the paella without overwhelming it.
A variety of sherries and Emilio Bulfon Piculit Neri is available at Joy Wine and Spirits.
THE RECIPE -- PAELLA
Contributed this month by Host Arturo Gomez
Spice Mix for chicken, recipe follows
1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut into 10 pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
*** In Denver there is only 1 market with 2 locations that have authentic
Spanish chorizos, Rancho Liborio, either in Commerce City, 64th and Ivy just
east of the greyhound race track or on Colfax and Havana in Aurora, do not
use Mexican chorizos, just omit chorizos if unable to obtain ***
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Spanish onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
4 cups short grain Spanish rice
6 cups water, warm
Generous pinch saffron threads
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 lobster tails
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
Lemon wedges, for serving
Large paella pan or wide shallow skillet
Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in
Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until
browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all
sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from
pan and reserve.
In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley.
Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until
the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and
stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently
moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add
chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into
the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a
good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente,
for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is
filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the
rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can
smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it's perfect.
Cook's note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat.
Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with peas, parsley and
Spice Mix for chicken:
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the
chicken; marinate for 1 hour, covered