Paella on the Grill
My family bid arrivederci to my oldest daughter Giulia on Sunday, who left today for her first year of college in the Netherlands. We celebrated with a different kind of barbecue, Paella on the Grill. It is a fun recipe to cook with company because everyone enjoys the anticipation that is created while adding all of the ingredients, especially outdoors on the grill. This is a great gluten free meal that is both rich and filling – perfect when gathering with friends.
My husband lit a Weber grill with both wood and charcoal and let it burn for about half an hour before I started cooking. We removed the insert in the middle so he could slip in some charcoal if the flame was too hot, or add some more dry wood to speed things up. Maintaining a good, constant temperature for cooking with a pan on the grill is actually pretty easy, and it does add a bit of a smoky flavor to the fish. I use an 18-inch copper skillet that is about 3-inches deep and normally used for making borlenghi, a traditional bread from my husband’s hometown, but a 20 or 22-inch steel Paella pan would be perfect for 8 to 10 people.
We placed two bricks on the grill so that the pan would not be too close to the flame. I started by adding olive oil and chicken into the preheated pan, which I cooked for about 20 minutes until it was nicely browned. You might have to move the pan off the grill for a few minutes if the temperature is too hot, so be prepared with a heavy oven mitt and a place to rest the pan. The browning will give flavor to the dish, so have patience and continue to turn the pieces until they look almost cooked through and the meat is deeply browned. I actually used half chicken and half rabbit which is pretty typical here in Italy and considered traditional ingredients. It is important to use meat with bones because it will lend great flavor to the broth used to cook the rice.
I then added one jar of jovial Cannellini Beans and 2 cups of green beans – if you can find flat green beans, even better. Next, I added the spices and garlic followed by one jar of jovial Crushed Tomatoes. Meanwhile, I charred a red pepper on the grill, removed the skin and seeds and cut it into long strips. I covered everything with water and let it simmer for half an hour to create the stock in which to cook the rice. Keep in mind that it will require more broth and time to cook rice in an open skillet, so the broth should not be boiling and evaporating, but bubbling gently. I added the rice, sausage, pepper, and then the fish at the end. I had shrimp prepared and I forgot to add them. When the rice and seafood are thoroughly cooked there should be a little broth remaining in the pan. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Paella On The Grill
- 3 tablespoons jovial Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs
- Salt to taste
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1½ cups green beans, or flat green beans, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- One 13-ounce jar jovial Cannellini Beans
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- One 18.3-ounce jar jovial Crushed Tomatoes
- 10 cups water
- 2 cups long-grain white rice like arborio
- 4 ounces sausage, cut into ½-inch slices and browned on both sides in a pan
- 1 pound Littleneck clams, soaked in cold water and 2 teaspoons of salt for one hour before cooking
- 1 pound mussels, scrubbed
- ½ pound shrimp, shell-on and deveined
- Prepare the grill for cooking on medium heat.
- Place a 20-inch paella pan on the grill and let heat for a few seconds. Add oil and chicken, then cook for 20 minutes until deeply browned, turning frequently with grilling tongs. Salt chicken generously.
- Place a red pepper on the outside of the grill next to the paella pan and turn occasionally until the skin is charred. Remove the peel under cold water, then slice in long strips, removing the seeds. Set aside.
- Toss in the green beans and cannellini beans with the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Move the chicken aside to make a small open space in the middle of the pan. Add a drop of olive and the garlic, paprika, and saffron, stirring for a few seconds, then add the tomatoes. Add more salt to taste and cook for a few minutes. Add the water and stir to combine all of the ingredients well. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste the broth and add more salt if needed.
- Spread the rice evenly around the pan, then stir to cover with broth. Place the strips of peppers on top, spaced evenly around the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt again and add more if needed.
- Arrange the cooked sausage around the pan and cook for 5 minutes, then add the clams and mussels and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the shells are open and the rice is close to fully cooked. Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes more or until the rice is done, adding more water if necessary.
- Remove the pan from the grill and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.