Paella In My Paella


Paella is a Spanish dish made with rice, and a variety of meat (chicken or rabbit), seafood (shrimp, mussels or a firm fish like cod), and spicy sausage like andouille or chorizo.  It also includes vegetables like green beans or peas and spices like paprika and saffron.  This dish allows for countless variations.  The rice is supposed to be cooked in such a way that it crisps up on the bottom and edges.  It’s frequently prepared over an open fire or a very high burner.  Every summer we attend a music festival in northern lower Michigan where huge iron paella pans are set over an open flame and enough paella is being prepared to feed dozens and dozens.  It’s almost as much fun watching them make it as it is eating it.  They make a vegetarian Paella as well making them a very popular stop.  Paella cooked in this fashion allows for nicely crisped rice.  Personally, I prefer my rice without the crisp so that’s the way I prepare it.

This post, however, is as much about my new pan as it is about the paella.  Interestingly, the word “paella” derives from the Old French word paella for pan which in turn comes from the Latin word patella for pan.  (I didn’t happen to know that off the top of my head but I do know how to access all things Wikipedia.)  I frequently stop and browse in shops that sell  Le Creuset cookware.  Le Creuset is a French company that makes enameled cast iron cookware.  I have several knock-off enameled cast iron pieces which I use all the time but have never purchased a Le Creuset.  Until now.  I am still excited!  My husband gifted it to me so I promised to, appropriately, make paella my first dish in this beautiful 5 quart Braiser aka Paella or Patella.


A thing of beauty, no?!

This recipe makes a generous amount.  Although the leftovers were great I probably will not  make this again until we have guests.


Herb Blend

1 cup chopped fresh parsley and cilantro

2 or 3 large cloves of garlic minced

juice of one lemon

1 T olive oil


1 cup water

1 tsp saffron threads

5 cups chicken broth

1/2 pound unpeeled jumbo shrimp

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 links andouille sausage

3-4 slices of thick bacon cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1 cup canned diced tomatoes undrained

1 tsp sweet paprika

3-4 cloves of garlic whole

3 cups Arborio rice

1 cup frozen peas

1 lemon juiced


Combine the first 4 ingredients and set aside.  Combine the water, broth and saffron in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Do not boil.  Keep warm over low heat.

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Heat 1 T of olive oil in large heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken pieces and saute 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove them from the skillet and set aside.  Add the sausage and bacon to the skillet and saute 3-4 minutes.  Remove them from the skillet.

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Reduce the heat to medium low and add the onion and bell pepper.  Saute for approximately 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

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Add the tomatoes, paprika and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.


Add the rice and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Stir in the herb blend and the peas.

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Add the broth mixture, chicken, and sausage mixture and bring to a low boil.  Cook 15 minutes, stirring frequently.


Once the meat is added this 5 quart pan is VERY full.  Be careful.


Add the shrimp and cook 5 more minutes.  Most of the liquid should be absorbed.  Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the juice from one lemon, cover, and allow the paella to sit for 10 minutes.  If your skillet doesn’t have a lid cover the paella with a clean dish towel.

Serve with lemon wedges.

NOTE:  Like I mentioned earlier, this recipe is perfect for modifying based on personal tastes.  I would love to use mussels but availability is an issue.  I may try this next with strictly seafood and substitute seafood broth for the chicken broth.  My husband likes foods kicked up and he added hot sauce to his.





Cabbage, Potato and Sausage Bake


It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the FinnishDish.  I haven’t stopped cooking or taking pictures of food but apparently I have not been focused on sharing.  I’ve been busy canning…tomatoes, pizza sauce, pickles.  I have a crock full of shredded cabbage waiting to become sauerkraut.  I’ve never attempted that before.  It will take at least another 5 weeks but I will blog that, success or failure.  Everyone tells me homemade sauerkraut is the BEST.  Hope mine lives up to my expectations.  In the process of shredding the cabbage (the thickness of a dime) I had a good amount of odds and ends left so I decided to make the cabbage and sausage bake.  Fall is nearly here and this is perfect one dish, easy comfort food.  One of my Dad’s favorite dishes is boiled dinner and this is kind of a baked boiled dinner.


1 medium head of cabbage cored and cut into wedges

1 pound of new potatoes

1 large sweet onion sliced

4-5 slices of bacon diced

1 pound sausage links (I used andouille)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 370.

Cut your cabbage into quarters and core.  Cut quarters in half and put in a large casserole or roasting pan. My cabbage is kind of a mess because it’s odds and ends but it will cook up fine.  Wash the potatoes and add them to the cabbage.

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If you’re using larger potatoes cut them into quarters.

Fry the bacon for 6-7 minutes.  You don’t want it to be crispy.  Add the onion and cook until onions are translucent.

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Distribute the bacon and onion mixture, including the drippings, over the cabbage and potatoes.


Brown your sausage in the skillet and add to the casserole dish.  Add salt and pepper and pour broth over the meat and vegetables.

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Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove casserole from the oven and allow to sit 15 minutes covered.  Serve and enjoy!


NOTE:  Recipes frequently call for two or three slices of bacon so when I buy bacon I roll the slices and put them in threes or fours and freeze them in zip lock freezer bags.

Andouille Sausage, Tomatoes and Rice


Andouilli is a smoked sausage made from pork and seasoned with garlic, peppers, onion, and seasonings.  A little spicy.   It’s very common in Louisiana Creole cuisine.  The organic meat market where I purchase all of my meat makes an especially good andouilli.

One pot dishes are always a treat after a long day when you don’t have a lot of time to put a homemade meal on the table.  This is a tasty dish that’s a little kicked up (you can kick it up a little more if you’d like).  Some of the kick comes from the andouilli sausage.  You can prep and cook this dish in less than an hour.  A little bit of New Orleans on your table and only one pan to wash.


1 T olive oil

1 medium onion rough chopped

1 cup rough chopped pepper (I used an orange bell pepper and a poblano)

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

4 links adouille sausage (a little under one pound)

1 cup long grain rice, uncooked

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp coarse ground black  pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 bay leaf

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 pint diced tomatoes

1 T tomato pastee

1 T Franks Hot Sauce


Heat the olive oil in a heavy fry pan or Dutch oven.  Dice the onion and peppers, mince the garlic and slice the sausage links.  Saute for about 5 minutes.

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Measure out the spices and add to the sausage and vegetables along with the rice.

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Stir and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, tomato paste, tomatoes and Franks.


Stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow the pan to stand, covered, for 5 minutes.  Stir and serve.


I served it with some steamed asparagus and a wedge of buttermilk cornbread.  I’ve always been a little wimpy about spice but my palate is adjusting.  I loved this dish.


If you’d like, you can add some shrimp to this dish.  After the first 20 minutes of simmering, stir in the shrimp, cover, and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.

NOTE:  I have mentioned this before but recipes always call for one or two tablespoons of tomato paste.  I open both ends of a small can of tomato paste and put the can in the freezer for an hour or so.  Once the paste has firmed up push it out of the can, slice it and freeze individual slices in snack bags.  You always have just the right amount of tomato paste at the ready.





Mardi Gras a little early. We should have worn our beads at dinner.

The organic farm I get my meat from makes a great andouille and I had some in my freezer. While I’m not a huge fan of highly spiced foods my husband loves the heat. I decided to use my andouille and some shrimp I also had in the freezer and make a jambalaya.   Cooking for me is almost always about improvising…putting my own spin on things. Improvising also becomes a necessity when you don’t have all the ingredients a recipe calls for and the grocery is a 30 minute drive.


3 T olive or canola oil (divided)

4 links of andouille sausage

2 doz shrimp with tails

1 large onion rough chopped

1 orange sweet pepper rough chopped

3 stalks of celery rough chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic sliced

1 pint stewed tomatoes

8 oz bottle clam juice

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup flour

2 T franks hot sauce

1 14 oz can red beans


Spice Mix:

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

salt to taste


In a large heavy skillet heat 1 T of the oil over medium high heat.  Slice the sausage and sear both sides.



Once the sausage has been seared on both sides put on a plate and set aside.  Put broth, clam juice and tomatoes in a saucepan and heat.  Add remaining oil to the skillet with the pan drippings and heat. Whisk in flour to make a roux. Continue whisking over medium heat until the roux turns a golden brown taking care not to burn. Whisk about 10 minutes.


Add the celery, onion and pepper to the roux and continue stirring over medium heat.


Slowly pour in the sauce pan of clam juice, tomatoes and broth continually stirring until gravy begins to thicken. Stir in the spice mixture and salt to taste. Add the andouille and red beans and simmer uncovered over low heat for about 15 minutes.


Add the shrimp and simmer for a couple of minutes until the shrimp is heated through.  I used pre-cooked shrimp. Uncooked shrimp will require a couple more minutes to cook through.


Ladle your jambalaya into bowls and top with rice. Garnish with fresh parsley or sliced green onions and enjoy!


For those that want additional heat put the Franks or Tabasco on the table. But this had plenty of kick for me.  Tasted really great with a nice cold beer.

NOTE:  I used long grain rice and cooked it in chicken broth for a little extra flavor.