Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

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Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:22 pm

We are planning a Spanish meal with our neighbors and my first thought was to make a nice Paella. So I got out my Penelope Casas "Paella" cookbook and the fourth recipe in there is for Arroz Caldoso. That set me to thinking -- this is something I had never heard of before I went to Spain, and which I bet most Americans have never heard of. And we wouldn't have experienced it except that when we visited a friend's winery in the deep south of Spain, they took us to a friend's house and we had some truly delicious arroz caldoso. Theirs was made with partridges and was pretty unbelievable stuff. In English, my friends called it "soupy rice." It kind of amounts to a paella with "too much broth" but a lot changes about the dish when it is made that way. I looked around for recipes, it's hard to find them in English -- but in James Peterson's "Splendid Soups" he has a recipe which he calls an "Arroce" which I think is his grammatically incorrect singular for "Arroces" -- evidently plural of "Arroz." It looks like a really good recipe but I don't believe Peterson has ever been to Spain somehow. At any rate, he has a recipe but it is "in disguise" and so does Penelope Casas.

So now I'm struggling a little, I know that arroz caldoso will be interesting and different, I know it will probably be delicious, I know I feel that in comparison paella is kind of hackneyed and boring. Yeah, maybe I'm not struggling. Just worried about cooking something for the first time while "on stage" -- I have had a few belly flops trying to do that.

Has anyone heard of arroz caldoso or soupy rice? Do you like it? Anyone think I should stick with paella instead?
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:01 pm

In NYC there are a few places to get good paella. But, most of the time, if you go a Spanish restaurant and order paella you get soupy rice with stuff in it. :cry:

Speaking for myself, there's nothing like paella. (Say it with me: "soccarat")

Not that I would turn down a hot plate of fideua, you should understand....
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Jenise » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:02 pm

Muy interesting! I have never encountered the dish, either on the table or on the page so can't throw in my .02 cents worth based on anything I know. Since you had a very positive experience with the dish, though, and therefore would recognize the dish when you had the right outcome, I don't see any reason to stick to paella and not instead do something that would, if you will, advance the conversation. You're a good enough cook that it's not a risk.

Would love to see a recipe. I have some Penelope Casas books too (though not one dedicated to paella) in addition to several on Spanish cooking by other authors, will go look.
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:22 pm

Jenise, my first Google hit was actually an image from the page of my Penelope Casas cookbook, Arroz Caldoso de Marisco. If the link below doesn't work for you, I had searched for Penelope Casas Arroz Caldoso

http://books.google.com/books?id=C-Kq5ABBSQUC&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=penelope+casas+arroz+caldoso&source=bl&ots=gdkGNumP12&sig=JuVTAgGJlF2N8PjYieHsBp4MvAM&hl=en#v=onepage&q=penelope%20casas%20arroz%20caldoso&f=false
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Jenise » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:31 pm

Okay, I get it now. Sounds absolutely divine. I'll give it a whirl tomorrow night myself!
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:50 pm

Jenise, what she is describing for the toast to float on the top is EXACTLY what I do for Keller Toast, so I have that in my kitchen constantly. And the Aioli she describes is doctored mayo with garlic.

Here is an interesting video, in Spanish

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n69MvAioTAE

He makes the broth by boiling a lobster, a giant crab, and some shrimp heads for 20 minutes. Fries up mussels and small clams in olive oil, then eventually breaks up the lobster and crab and adds them to the fried shellfish. To me it looks like a LOT of shells for the diners to cope with, I would have the urge to clean it up before serving. Anyway the rice is cooked separately in the lobster broth and then all combined at the end. There are other YouTube "related" videos for arroz caldoso, also in Spanish, listed over on the right. One of the comments says "it's all good except for torturing the animals!" Everyone else says that the recipe is a winner.
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Jenise » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:50 pm

Neat. Very bouilliabaise-ish, isn't it, with the aioli (which I understand was originally Spanish, not French).

Sounds wonderful. Your extra note reminds me that I have two bags of crab shells in the fridge I plan to turn into a stock. Better get to that today as they were from Friday's catch--would be excellent for this dish.
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:25 pm

Frank,
I'd never heard of the dish either (and I've been to Spain twice!), but I agree with you about paella in restaurants. Most Americans have never had an authentic paella, cooked on an outdoor fire with the most delectable crust on the bottom. Fortunately for us, a former student of mine from Iran has given us a treasure trove of Persian saffron, so I can make my own paella as often as I wish to. Now, if only I could get a student from the Perigord... :mrgreen:

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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:31 pm

Jenise wrote:Okay, I get it now. Sounds absolutely divine. I'll give it a whirl tomorrow night myself!


Did you give it a whirl? Unimpressed?
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Jenise » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:52 am

Frank, no, sorry! Made the crab-flavored broth, but then decided wouldn't the dish be cool with actual fresh crab in it so rescheduled it for Thursday when I could and planned to put my traps out again (our season's only open Thurs thru Mon). By then, a medical emergency with one of our cats went from a Cat 1 to a Cat 4, to borrow a popular terminology this week, and we spent the end of the week in Seattle with specialists. No time to cook. You?
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:13 am

Our dinner is a week from now, Sept 8.
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Jenise » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:05 pm

Frank,

This is on the menu for tonight. The day turned unseasonably cool and we're fogged in to boot--this should be perfect. So in preparation, I searched about looking at recipes, and though I didn't watch the YouTube video you mentioned yet, I didn't find any recipes that suggested cooking the rice separately, then combining. I'd be most willing to do that in order to preserve a firmer character to the rice and not end up with a porridge. However, most recipes I looked at either described adding everything to the liquid which in several cases was nothing but water, while some approached it in stages like a risotto--right down to the warmed chicken broth being added in doses for a total 18 minutes cooking time.

Anyway, seems to be no actual wrong way to go about it, one just wants to choose carefully a match for your cooking style to end up with the dish you'd really want. For me that probably IS cooking the rice separate from the meat(s) so that everything is bright and distinctive, not a stew.

Will report!
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:13 pm

I've been going thru a similar reasoning process, Jenise. I can remember one of the few times I made a rice-based soup, where I made it a little too far in advance and the darn thing solidified!! White paste, almost. So I was also thinking of cooking the rice, maybe with bottled clam broth or something to keep the flavors intense and then stirring them in. The Spanish guy (on YouTube) sounds pretty confident about that technique. I suppose it could be said to come out looking a little messy...

Thanks for posting, I need whatever input you can give me.
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:28 pm

OK, I've been working on this today. I bought a nice monkfish -- just a 1.5 pound tail with bone and skin. Not the easiest thing to get the skin off but then cutting meat from bone was easy. My shrimp only had tails so I cut those off to enrich the broth, and I also threw the fish backbone into the broth along with the leek greens. The shrimp, scallops, and monkfish pieces go into a marinade which is almost like a ceviche. Lemon juice and white wine, garlic and herbs. Chopped parsley and fresh thyme. That's beein in the fridge for a while.

After I simmered the broth which is more or less half bottled clam juice and half water -- with saffron, bay leaf, parsley sprigs, etc... It had a lovely yellow color from the saffron and maybe some green from the leek. Smells and tastes good. I filtered it first with a plain chinoise and then with my fine Matfer chinoise. Only measured to 6 cups so I added 2 cups water, it's rich enough to take it and the amount of broth has to match the amount of rice in the recipe.

I'm at a "Stillstand" just now, fish in the fridge, mussels in a bowl of water, multi-filtered broth in a stock pot and the "main" pan ready for chopped onion, the white of the leek, and some minced garlic. Once I saute those, the broth goes back in and eventually the rice. The seafood only cooks for the last 4 minutes so I will time the rice to start around the first appetizer and throw in the seafood as we are just finishing the prior course.

I need to make some "Alioli." I thought Penelope Casas spelled it wrong but I checked -- Aioli has one L in French, two in Spanish, and 3 in Catalan.

Fun project!!
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Jenise » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:50 pm

Frank,

Interesting way to prep the other seafoods, ceviche-like. Not something I ran into while perusing recipes, and I didn't have Penelope's. (The link you supplied above to, I think, just a picture, but which may have also included a recipe, didn't work for me.)

We loved what I did make, though. I made a seafood stock out of chicken stock and crab shells, to which I added sauteed white onions, slivers of bell pepper and a few slices of tomato. I seasoned it with smoked paprika but also Hungarian sweet for the brighter red color, and then threw in a cleaned/cooked half crab, to intensify the crab flavor though it was already quite present. The resulting broth reminded me pretty exactly of the bouilliabaise broth we were served in Marseilles, though I think mine a bit more elegant.

Separately I cooked the rice, no bomba in the house at present so a nice Japanese medium grain that's very similar, which cooked with water, salt and two cloves of garlic--I decided that contrast would elevate the rice, and to accentuate it left garlic out of the broth. As is my habit, when the rice was done I turned it out onto a sheet of waxed paper to evap the steam and let the kernels shrink and intensify in flavor while cooling.

The crab came out about five minutes before the intended service, and I picked at some of the crab meat. To my shock and surprise, instead of being overcooked, firm and stringy as I expected it to be, the crabmeat was saturated with good flavor and luxuriously soft on the palate. A real Eureka moment! So I rushed the legs I was going to merely reheat in the broth into the pot and simmered the whole about 15 minutes more to get what I served more like that half crab that had cooked for an hour. Then in went the saffron and about five minutes later, the rice and picked crab meat. Served it about five minutes later. We LOVED the dish. I maybe liked it better than any paella I've ever had (Bob agreed), so I can't thank you enough for discussing it here in FLDG.

I envy you the feast of different seafoods your dish will be. Where yes I was making use of something that happens to be available to me here in a very special way, it's also true that we get a poor variety of seafoods here, and although mussels and clams are among them Bob is highly allergic to those and I can't use them.

Today for lunch I repurposed the leftover rice and some leftover cream of celery soup from earlier in the week, and added some curry seasoning and fenugreek leaves to make a fabulous exotic crab chowder to go with a raw vegetable salad. Every bit as good as the dish we enjoyed Thursday night!
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:14 pm

Jenise, yours sounds fabulous, no surprise! I'm sorry the link to Casas recipe didn't work, for me I got an image on the screen.

If you search for Penelope Casas Arroz Caldoso -- and try FireFox -- you might be able to see it. But it's as I described.

It was tempting for me to branch out, at the Korean store (H Mart) where I bought the monkfish and mussels, they had fresh squid and inexpensive live abalone!! But the first time through I really like to stick exactly to the recipe -- I can always vary it later. BTW H mart is famous for good fish and the monkfish was lovely. But I had about a 50% attrition rate on the darn mussels. Many were open or cracked. I briefly considered buying more.

So the plan is:

1) jamon iberico and manchego cheese

2) an amuse bouche of canned Navajas (razor clams) with scorched corn

3) an amuse bouche of eggplant and honey

4) pulpo (don't know the prep) -- i.e. octopus

5) a Ceviche. Don't know if that's Spanish but our neighbors got addicted to it in Peru

6) my Arroz Caldoso.

7) Spanish poached pears. We had to make Sangria to poach them in so they have flavors of lemon, orange, and red wine, very refreshing!

and I have a jar of sugared Marcona Almonds from La Tienda.
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Re: Paella versus Arroz Caldoso

Postby Frank Deis » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:40 am

The Arroz Caldoso was delicious and a big hit.

The low point - the canned Navajas, razor clams. I had hoped they would be tasty and tender, but they were pretty much tough and flavorless.

It was great to eat real Spanish ham again even tho I only had 4 oz for 5 people (one fishaterian).

All in all the arroz wasn't that hard to make (tho a little time consuming) and I will certainly do it again.
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