Recipes: Enjoy a Cuban-style dinner with paella

Habeeb Salloum M.S.M.

Since the Moorish age until our times, Spain has been a large producer of rice and the true home of paella.

Although identified as purely Spanish, paella’s history may have a connection with its medieval past as there is a theory that paella may have derived from the Arabic term baqiya’(leftovers). Whether of Moorish origin or strictly a creation of Spain, a combination of meats and seafood with rice and some vegetables, paella has taken the world by storm.

When the Spanish conquered the New World they brought paella with them — hence this dish in Cuba. A delicious feast dish, it is a good change from turkey and takes less time to prepare, what goes into the oven can be placed directly on the dining table.

Cuban-style paella (Serves 6)

If desired, a richer paella can be served by adding 1/2 pound of scallops with the shrimps.

4 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 large red bell pepper, seeded & finely chopped

1-lb uncooked shrimp, peeled

1-lb hard flesh fish filet cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups crushed tomatoes

6 cups cooked white rice

2 cups fresh or frozen peas

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a frying pan, melt the butter, add onion, garlic and green pepper and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Spoon into greased casserole and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

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