After seeing paella posts around here I had a bee in my bonnet to do my first paella on the Egg. I've got to admit it was off my radar screen until spring, because I never could do them in the winter on my gas grill. But after seeing paella posts here, it dawned on my if I can do stir fry cooks year round on the Egg, there was no reason I couldn't do paella. I have a 16" stainless steel paella pan and I was afraid with the handles sticking out I wouldn't be able to shut the lid. Yesterday I tried out my wok Spider and I found if I set the legs on the top lip of the fire ring vs down in the notches. I elevated the handles to exactly the gasket level. The top lid was able to close almost all of the way. This made it easy to add some smoke flavor via hickory chips during the last 15 minutes when the rice and broth are cooking down. This cook was had some adventures, but it was things I could handle and they did not affect the paella adversely.
With the wok Spider's legs set on the fire ring, the pan handles were exactly at the gasket level. This allowed me to close the lid 99 percent of the way.
For the 2 1/2 pounds of cubed lamb, I used 3 lambs steaks at 3/4" thick.
The broth for this paella was made from scratch & used: Chicken broth, chick peas, bay leaf, 12 cloves of garlic chopped, chopped shallots, wine, thyme, parsley, rosemary, ground chin, ground oregano & saffron threads.
The first step was to mash the chick peas.
Then all of the ingredients except the white wine were added to the pot. The broth was brought to a boil & then was simmered for 30 minutes. While this was going on I fired up the Egg. Once the 6 paraffin starters were lit and had extinguished, I closed the lid and let the Egg reach 400 degrees dome temp. At this point I opened the lid and closed the bottom vent.
While the the broth was simmering & the Egg was coming up to temperature, I finished the paella prep. Here the lamb has been cubed & seasoned with salt & pepper.
This is what the broth looked like after simmering for 30 minutes.
The solids were strained & the white wine was added to the broth.
I decided on hickory chips & I used a handful towards the end of the cook when I closed the lid for 15 minutes to cook the rice & broth.
The lid is open and the bottom damper is closed all the way. It is time to heat the olive oil & begin.
The ingredients are gathered & it is time to begin. The paella used cognac, diced red peppers, diced shallots, Bomba rice, diced tomatoes, chick peas, olive oil. lamb, and I kept the warm broth in the Kitchen until it was time to actually use it. On the right are the garnich toppings: sliced & halved tomatoes, sliced pimiento pepper, coarsely chopped parsley & rosemary sprigs.
The lamb is browned in 8 Tbsp of olive oil. The pan was running about 50-75 degrees high so I had to keep the food moving to avoid burning it. It reminded me a lot of a stir-fry in my wok.
The lamb cooked for about 10 minutes and was removed & placed in a bowl until later.
Next up was the red peppers & shallots which were sauteed for 8 minutes. Once again I had to keep the food in almost constant motion due to the 50-75 degree higher temps,
The tomato and cognac go in next and were sauteed until most of the liquid had cooked off.
The short grained Bomba rice was added in next.
The riced was folded into the sauteed veggies.
The broth was added next....
...followed by the whole chick peas. This mixture was brought to a boil for 3 minutes.
The lamb was added back in and the mixture was brought to a boil for 3 more minutes. At this point the handfull of hickory chips were added & the lid was closed for 5 minutes and the metal cap and bottom damper was set to hold a 400 degree temperature.
After the 5 minutes was up, enough of the liquid had been absorbed that I could add the garnish toppings.
The garnish toppings were sliced tomatoes with the slice cut in half, slivered pimiento peppers, coarsely chopped parsley & rosemary sprigs. The lid was closed for the next 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes with the lid closed the liquid from the broth has cooked off or has been soaked up by the rice. It is time to bring the paella back into the Kitchen where it will rest for 5 minutes covered in foil.
The paella was covered with foil for a 5 minute rest & it is now time to eat. The dining room smelled of lamb, herbs & hickory smoke. Mmmmmm
This was one of the best paellas I've made to date. I really liked what the hickory smoke did for the flavor of the paella. The lamb was tender & moist & the homemade broth was very flavorful. I also achieved the crispy bottom crust or soccorat, which is the equivalent of the BBQ smoke ring for paellas. It means you cooked it right.
I had two big bowls of this paella & my wife had three. I think that says it all.
This paella cook score a 10 in the flavor category and a 8 in the technical category. I had some problems with temperatures but they didn't affect the ned results. I just had to constantly stir to keep the food in motion. It reminded me of a wok stir fry.
-The first problem was the Egg was 50-75 degrees too hot. I lit it and when the paraffin starters went out I closed the lid and let the Egg get to 400 degrees. I then opened the lid and closed the bottom damper for the first part of the cook. The next time I will use 350 as the temperature where I will open the lid and shut down the bottom damper.
-The higher temps also resulted in shortened sauteeing times and I added some extra olive oil a couple times along the way.
-The handful of hickory chips was the perfect amount of chips for my taste. The only problem was the hickory smoke partially masked the smell of the rice toasting at the end of the cook. It was able to pull it at the right time but it was more work than normal.
As mentioned ultimately none of those items affected the paella in a negative way. A couple more paellas on the Egg and I will have hit the comfort zone on the Egg.