Calamari, Blood Sausage, Chorizo and Chicken Paella

About four times a year Scott and fellow potters from the Chelsea Ceramic Guild go to Roger Baumann’s studio in Lake Peekskill to woodfire their pots. I love to tag along on these trips as it gives me a welcome chance to get away from the city to be outdoors absorbing nature, sharing with good people and helping the group get their wares ready for the fire.
Roger Baumann's Woodfire Kiln in Lake Peekskill
A beautiful, brisk, early fall day at Roger Baumann’s studio in Lake Peekskill. His hand-built woodfire kiln located in an idyllic spot next to a stream.
On our latest trip to Roger’s early this fall, potter Ana Larea and her husband, painter Arturo Guerrero, treated us to a traditional outdoor paella. Ana and Arturo are native Spaniards and Arturo is an amazing cook. This was my first experience with outdoor paella and I asked Arturo if I could watch and learn.
Crisp ingredients are used to make this paella
The chicken is braised in fragrant seasonings. Blood sausage, chorizo, calamari and crisp green beans are added. Once the savory juices have reduced and strengthened in intensity, the Arborio rice and fresh stock is added and topped with fragrant rosemary and roasted red pepper.
Smoke infuses into the paella
Smoke from the wood fire infuses into the paella to give it a rustic smoky flavor. Arturo propped the paellera (paella pan) far enough away from the flame for a gentle, even cooking temperature.
Arturo Guerrero stoking the fire
The fire has to be just right in order for the paella to cook properly. Raw logs were burned to smoldering charcoal, then the cooking process beings.
Making an Outdoor Paella
Arturo maintained an even, medium fire throughout the whole process and added wood as needed to keep the fire going.
Outdoor Paella with Arborio Rice
Arturo checks the paella and adds fresh chicken stock as needed until the rice is fully cooked. For this paella he used Arborio rice, but he prefers using Bomba rice.
Socarrat
As the paella cooks, the delicious socarrat develops. This crispy crust at the bottom of the paellera (paella pan) is infused with super concentrated flavors. It’s my favorite part of the paella.
Paella Cooking
The paella is almost done. A savory aroma fills the crisp fall air.
Calamari, Blood Sausage, Chorizo and Chicken Paella
The paella is removed from the fire once the rice is firm but cooked through, the juices have reduced to a creamy, rich base and the socarrat forms a dark brown and crispy crust. This paella is almost ready.
Calamari, Blood Sausage, Chorizo and Chicken Paella
Arturo removes the paella from the fire and sets it aside to finish cooking and to cool slightly.
Ana and Arturo Guerrero serving paella in Roger Baumann's back yard
Ana and Arturo Guerrero serving paella. Roger Baumann, our host, in the background. Photographed by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
The paella was absolutely delicious and made for a memorable experience. Spending a day cooking outdoors, enjoying the simple things and sharing with friends – this was a day that reminded me how rich and savory life can be.

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