The Irish have stew.
The French have boeuf bourguignon.
The Italians have spaghetti bolognese.
The Americans have cioppino.
Louisiana gets its own- jambalaya.
The Portuguese have cataplana.
And the Spanish? Have paella.*
Which I love. And love to say them too. Jambalaya, Cataplana, and Paaaaiiiiyaaaaayyaaa.
These are foods you make up as you go along. The stuff that honors bits and pieces. Brings dignity to the leftovers and the lowly. Proof that what works better in nature - cooperation, as opposed to competition - also works better in the pot.
An expression of human ingenuity.
I made paella on Saturday for the first time.
Ole...as they say.
Chicken, chorizo, shrimp, mussels...land and sea blending here on a big platter, in a Toronto kitchen, on a cold February night.
We scraped that platter clean. No leftovers...shucks.
This recipe and picture comes from Cook's Illustrated, via David Leite's Culinaria.
*Canadian cooking struggles to identify itself sometimes. Usually it means that if you add a dash of maple syrup or moose meat a dish ascends to Canadianism. I found chorizo sausage at my local meat vendor made from elk meat! So maybe I did Canuck this up a bit...I'll call this Paella-eh. Enjoy.