A seafood paella recipe, plus a Rioja wine and tapas pairing to create a match made in heaven.
By Julia Mueller
Marqués de Riscal Reserva is a red wine, which is barrel-aged in oak for at least one year and then bottle-aged for at least two years before it’s released. It has a sweet, yet peppery flavor. My Rioja Pairing Chart informed me this varietal would be excellent with seafood paella, as well as lamb dishes, mushroom risotto, barbecue beef brisket, ratatouille, and moo-shoo pork. In essence, it pairs well with all the delicious foods.
When choosing what food to partner with my wine, seafood paella jumped out at me, since it’s a dish I’ve never made at home. I have also had a hankering for stuffed dates lately. Tapas and wine anyone? Don’t mind if I do!
Because I was working with a red wine, I was concerned goat cheese wouldn’t stand up to the flavor, so I stuffed the dates with blue cheese, and drizzled them with honey. Can these bundles of joy be wrapped in bacon? mmmmhmmmm! Most definitely! Because my rioja wasn’t overwhelmingly bold (I mean, hey, it paired just fine with a seafood dish), I think goat cheese would have worked great for the stuffed dates as well.
I have procrastinated making paella for four score and eleventy billion years because I assumed it would require a lot of time and and an overwhelming amount of effort to make. False. I found the easiest paella recipe ever from Taste (a blog by Williams-Sonoma) and followed it almost to the T (which neeeeeever happens with me). It was easy, affordable, feeds a ton of people (especially if you’re serving tapas-sized portions), and above all: magically delicious. PLUS, the rioja and the paella paired very nicely. Wham bam.
If you’re looking to feast on some tapas with your friends, rioja is a great wine to bring into the equation. Whether you select a white, red, or rosé, you can be assured that the wine will be a great accompaniment with all of your tapas.
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
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- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups brown rice
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric*
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup canned peas, drained
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 pound chorizo links, sliced**
- 1 pound clams, scrubbed
- In a large pot or paella pan, heat the oil over medium and sauté the onion until very fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped red bell pepper, uncooked brown rice, and turmeric and continue sautéing until vegetables have softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add thelow-sodium chicken broth, salt, and bay leaf and bring to a full boil.
- Reduce the heat and cover. Allow the rice and veggies to simmer until much of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.
- Add the peas, shrimp, and chorizo and mix. Place the clams, hinge-side down into the paella and cover the pot. Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until chorizo is heated, shrimp is cooked through, and clams have opened.
- Discard any clams that refuse to open.
- Serve with your favorite wine!
I used pre-cooked chorizo links. If you use Spanish dry-cured chorizo, it will need to be cooked and you can sauté it with the onion and bell pepper after they have softened up a bit.