Paella Parties That Really Cook!
By Holly Brown
Publisher, WebTV/Radio Host of TheBrownLounge.com
I’m a huge fan of Spanish cuisine as a result of a trip to Spain with my husband, Kevin. We wound our way from Madrid, to the Rioja wine region, up to Basque country, and then to bustling Barcelona. I fell in love with Tempranillo wine, tapas, and paella. Of course, the afternoon siesta was pretty good too!!
When we returned from our trip, we wanted to share our gastronomical experiences with our friends. So, we threw a Paella Party. Kevin makes the best paella I’ve ever tasted. You can find his recipe and a video of our Paella Party at TheBrownLounge.com, along with a complete Paella Party menu including sangria, tapas, and dessert recipes. Kevin is now an award-winning wine maker for Siren Song Wines, and he turned his paella passion into a catering business called WineandPaella.com.
Valencia, Spain is the home of paella. Traditional paella is made with short grain rice, like Bomba or Arborio. Saffron adds fragrance, taste and color to the dish, but it’s potent and only a pinch is needed. Heating or toasting the saffron before using it, brings out its smoky flavor. The term paella refers to the pan itself. The shallow paella pan is a versatile cooking vessel and can be used for a variety of Spanish dishes in addition to paella.
Spain is a top exporter of olive oil, table olives, pine puts, and citrus fruits. When I think of Spanish cuisine, I think fondly of Stuffed Olives, Fried Padron Peppers, Tortilla Española (a potato omelet), Sautéed Squid, Gambas Al Ajillo (garlic shrimp), and of course Paella! Find recipes for these and more in the Spanish Cuisine section of TheBrownLounge.com
We’ve thrown Paella parties for groups of 8 to crowds of 100. When we first started making paella in our home, we used a 20-inch paella pan on the stove. As our parties grew in size, we graduated to a 3-foot paella pan that serves 80-100. We set it up outside on a propane burner system, and stage our party in 3 phases. Stage one is the tapas course. We invite guests to bring their favorite Spanish wine or tapa dish to share. It’s kind of like a Spanish potluck!
In stage two, we fire up the paella pan and start cooking. After the paella is served, stage three is a flamenco show! Of course, not everyone has the space or budget to include live entertainment as part of their party, but you can have just as much fun, turning on some flamenco music or Spanish guitar, and dance in the kitchen! For authentic Spanish ingredients I always turn to The Spanish Table in Seattle’s Pike Place Market for all things Spanish food, wine, and paella.
¡Buen provecho! Holly
Find our Complete Paella Party Menu here, including Sangria, Tapas, Paella, and dessert! http://thebrownlounge.com/menu/paella-parties-that-really-cook/
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