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Grilled Paella for a Crowd

Grilled Paella for a Crowd

Grilled Paella for a Crowd

When the American University field hockey team arrived in town for the weekend games last week, Grilled Paella was a real Pre-Celebratory Winner served as the Main course at the Team Family Dinner held at our house.

Paella Pan on grill with Rice

Preparing Paella outdoors on grills for a crowd provides a fun engaging experience and a leisurely environment for folks to relax and chat while observing the cooking,  participating in eager anticipation as each ingredient unfolds, building flavor, and transforming the rice dish highlighted in the shaded golden yellow color while absorbing the liquid of the stock.

There is a hint of excitement heating the Paella pan too, even from the first sizzle of olive oil, moving the shallots and scallions about the pan as they soften and become translucent.

Bright red chopped tomatoes play against the darker powdery shade of Spanish paprika, bite-size pieces of fresh chorizo and the slightest crackle of the rice first stirred into the combination.

The Production ease in Grilled Paella for a Crowd is preparing individual ingredients early on, such as the Easy Lobster and Shrimp Stock that may easily be prepared weeks in advance, frozen and defrosted in the refrigerator two days before using.

Assorted glass bowls held shallots, scallions, tomatoes, parsley, bright green petite peas, finished with bright juicy lemon wedges. Each with a colorful role sharing depth and complexity to the whole.

Chop, chop, chop. Chorizo cut into small bite size pieces. 

Seasoning and marinating of the chicken and shrimp, and cleaning the mussels, may be prepared the day before. With the Team Bus scheduled to arrive between 3:30-4:00 pm, the fired up grills and charcoal briquettes were hot and replenished from mid-afternoon on, grilling both chicken legs and thighs to just done an hour or so in advance.

A magical moment, the ahhhh,  in the Paella Grill Performance occurs while pouring the steaming Lobster and Shrimp Stock mixed with the white wine and saffron into the rice. The intense golden color combination of the saffron and stock together create a steaming fog swirling between these intensely colorful ingredients and the burning heat of the charcoal briquettes just beneath.  Smokin’ hot.

As the rice is nearly absorbed with the mussels, shrimp, and later some chicken pieces carefully tucked into the pan, the Grilled Paella once again transforms to expanded new dimensions and the unique scent of the saffron veils the dish over. The final wait is for the mussel shells to open.

An engaging experience, eager anticipation as each ingredient unfolds, sizzle, crackle, the swoosh and the steam. Colorful ingredients impart complex dimensions. Centered on the table lineup, it’s a win, Grilled Paella for a Crowd. Go Team! AUFH! 

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