|~My Grandpa and Mom~|
This is my Grandpa Pasqualo Pompei DeMaria's recipe for a Mixed Paella Valenciana and it is called so because it is a mixture of meats, seafood, and vegetables. My Grandpa DeMaria was my Mother's Father and a first generation Italian American whose parents, Carl and Philomena DeMaria came from Naples, Italy and settled in Jersey City NJ in the early 1900's. He was a highly intelligent, handsome, and very gifted man who loved to read, usually several books at once, while he puffed on his pipe. I have fond memories of lying on the couch next to him while he strummed on the guitar and sang beautiful songs in Italian and Spanish, I miss him but atleast I have this family heirloom recipe to remember him by.
Our family usually only makes this dish for special occasions like a birthday, holiday, or special feast and I'll never forget the time we decided to make Paella for our family reunion.....in my Dad's hotel room. As my family and I walked into the front of the hotel lobby you could smell the seafood cooking which was a pretty amazing feat due to the fact that our room was way up on the 3rd floor.... and to my horror people were at the front desk complaining of this odd smell. I quickly got into the elevator and just as soon as we got off I could see my sister in the hallway spraying room freshener and in the room there were lighted scented candles on every table and all the while my Dad just kept saying, "Oofa! These Americans, what do day want..... Jack In De Box, oofa oofa....no taste !"
1 green pepper diced
1 medium onion diced
1 pound chicken cut in small pieces
2 dozen mussels scrubbed and cleaned
2 dozen clams scrubbed and cleaned
1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
4-8 *Lobster tails (1-2 bags Frozen Langostino Tails $10.99 from Trader Joes are a much cheaper alternative) See note below
1/2 pound Chorizo cut in 1/4 inch slices
1 small bag frozen peas
1 pound Uncle Ben's Long Grain Rice (I have checked on this and many paella experts say this is the rice to use, it has something to do with it being parboiled)
1 jar pimento or roasted peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 small can of tomatoes
Saute chicken in olive oil until 3/4 done and remove. Saute the onion and pepper in same juices.
Add tomatoes, shrimp, lobster ( do not add frozen tails at this point as they are pre-cooked), and chorizo and simmer for 15 minutes. Replace chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes.
In a separate large pot place 1/4 cup water and steam the clams and mussels for 8-10 minutes or until shells open. Discard any that did not open. Reserve the juice in the pot and add more water to make 7 cups of liquid.
Heat to near boiling and add rice and saffron. Then add peas, mussels, frozen tails, and clams along with any left over juices form frying pan and simmer for 20 minutes, add salt to taste at this point. Make sure to scrape pan with a wooden spoon so that the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Just before serving top with the pimentos.
This serves 8 very hungry people
Something I am deeply proud of is the fact that my Grandpa was a musician and we actually found this clip of him singing and playing guitar on you tube, so click HERE if you want to take a listen!
* This is the only thing in the recipe I have changed. My Grandpa had called for 8 lobster tails! I decided on using frozen Langostino tails form Trader Joes. What is a Langostino tail you ask? Well I saw some at Trader Joes in the freezer section and loved the price so I decided to do some research and it turns out it's more close to a crab than a lobster but it is a perfectly fine substitute for lobster tails because they are just as sweet tasting and really kind of cute : )