Oh no! The holidays are over and you intended to have your colleagues over to your house for a little holiday celebration. Nothing big, just your favorite faculty colleagues, maybe your department chair, bring the family, have some spiced cookies and nice wines, a little rum. But you fucked it up, the holidays came and went and you missed your opportunity to socialize and show off your hosting skills. How can you have them over now? Everyone is on holiday withdrawal, plus spiced cookies sound so 2010.
But there is still hope. That's right, invite them over for paella! There's nothing to cure a depressing winter sunday afternoon than a leisurely lunch of steaming, fragrant paella. A veritable treasure chest of delicious goodies that will not only showcase your cooking skills but will show off your international sophistication and élan.
So how do you make said paella? In Spain, they typically make paella with either "land" meat (rabbit, chicken) or with seafood, but not usually with both. It is typically cooked over a wood fire and requires patience and artistry passed down through generations. Down in Mexico, we disregard these silly conventions and mix everything together. This recipe uses a mix of seafood with sausage and chicken, but feel free to use any combination of meats and seafood. While the recipe may look daunting, it is actually very easy to do. If you want a test run, you can limit the types of meat used, or even try a vegetarian version (but this is not recommended - I think rabbit will impress your colleagues more).
You will need:
6 chicken thighs
4 sausages (chorizo, sweet Italian, whatever)
Shellfish (mussels, clams, etc. – calculate about 4-5 per person)
Un-peeled shrimp, or large crayfish (2-3 per person)
Squid (hoods and tentacles -1 squid per 2 people)
1 onion, quartered
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
2 bay leaves
2 hefty pinches of saffron (or substitute 1/4 tsp of turmeric, but saffron is way better)