I recently took my oldest daughter to Montreal, Quebec for a mother-daughter getaway and while the entire trip was fabulous, one meal stood out the most: the paella from Barroco. This quaint restaurant is somehow cozy and charming while simultaneously being abundantly hip. The cocktails are complex and unique, with many of the ingredients needing a dictionary to decipher. As we settled into our meal, we had one of those moments where everything dulls around you as all you can think about is the taste in your mouth. It was the paella and it was AMAZING. As we walked back to the hotel from dinner, we decided that we needed to create a paella recipe just so we could remember this meal. And that is how this recipe came about.
Now, as my cooking tends to be more mid-week friendly than gourmet restaurant, this recipe is pretty easy to create even if you don’t have a paella pan at home. The key to the dish is smoked paprika and short grain rice. From there, you can pretty much vary up this recipe as you see fit. As this time of the year is one that produces an overflow of tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and butter beans, I based my vegetable selection on these. I’d suggest some sweet peppers as well, but for my at-home version, I leave them out as my husband is not a fan!
- 2 cups frozen or fresh lima beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 vidalia onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 2 cups white short grain rice
- 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (I use a variety of tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon chicken (I use this to enhance the boxed chicken broth. If you have homemade chicken stock, you won't need this.)
- 1 large pinch of saffron
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large handfuls of chopped green beans
- 1 frozen box of artichoke hearts
- ½ cup green peas (I use frozen)
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- Even though I don't use bell peppers, a red bell pepper, diced, would be a delicious addition.
- Juice of two lemons
- Shrimp: 24 oz large shrimp (I use frozen, peeled and deveined shrimp. I rinse the shrimp before cooking.)
- Flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce optional
- ⅓ cup Duke's mayonnaise, optional
- Before you start the paella, place the lima beans in a pot with water barely covering them and cook for 20 minutes.
- As these are cooking, heat oil in a very large skillet over medium high heat. Cast iron or enameled iron is great. Add chopped onion and cook for one minute, then add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions start to soften and brown just a bit. Add the rice and stir. Then, add the rest of the ingredients listed, stopping at the lemon juice. Do not add this yet. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 20 minutes.
- In another skillet, heat another two tablespoons of olive oil and cook the shrimp by sauteeing them for about 5-6 minutes.
- When the rice is done, add at least one cup of lima beans (or more to your preference), the shrimp, the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
- Squeeze the juice of two lemons on top. (This makes a HUGE difference! Don't skip this step.)
- Add hot sauce if you prefer.
- Lastly, if you like, try adding the mayo. This is how the paella at Barroco was prepared for us and while I was surprised, it was delicious, and I add it to mine now as well.
If you would like to add other vegetables or add chorizo sausage, go for it! This recipe is very friendly for adaptations.