Hello, Darlings! I hope you had a fantastic Valentine’s Day.
Now, I present the first installment of Dining with Mr. Price! In this series, I pair recipes from A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price (Dover Publications) with films starring Vincent Price.
As you may recall, I received a copy of A Treasury of Great Recipes from AnnMarie at Classic Movie Hub and Dover Publications.
The book features classic recipes from great restaurants around the world adapted for the mid-century American kitchen.
Tonight’s recipe Paella “Good Friend” comes from the Palace Hotel in Madrid.
According to Mr. Price:
The Palace Hotel serves this chicken and rice dish, really an arroz con pollo, under the name of paella “Good Friend.” The implication is that for a good friend you don’t have to go to the trouble of the more elaborate paella, but Mary and I hold quite the opposite philosophy (Price 198).
The Grocery List
This recipe calls for olive oil, chicken, salt, pepper, small onions, garlic, rice, dry white wine, chicken stock, oregano, blanched salted almonds, stuffed olives, mushrooms, and butter. Total cost $67.00 (not including salt, pepper, and oregano).
Now it says “rice”, but it does not specify what type of rice. Traditionally, paellas use bomba rice. If you cannot locate bomba, arborio is a safe alternative. Arborio is the risotto rice, a.k.a. the bane of all Hell’s Kitchen contestants and the reason Gordon Ramsay is always yelling.
If you are in a bind, you can use Japanese sushi rice. According to Russell Moore, Chef at Camino in Oakland, CA:
I wash it ahead of time, swish it around in water, pour the liquid off five, six times. Drain it, spread it on a sheet pan and put it in a warm spot until it’s dead dry — and then I pretend nothing ever happened, and it’s Spanish rice (Moore).
In my opinion, that’s too much work, just buy the right type of rice.
Now for the dry white wine, I recommend a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio. If you consider uncorking wine to be men’s work, get an Austrailian wine, Austrailian wines have a screw cap.
Mr. Price offers his advice on wine:
The best way to learn about wines is to sample many different kinds and find out which ones suit you best. … For a beginning all you need to remember is four basic words– RED and WHITE, DRY and SWEET. As a general rule, red wines are serves with meat, white wines with fish. But you can compromise happily with a pink or rosé, which goes with either. The reds are served at room temperature, the white and sparkling wines chilled. Dry wines have less sugar than sweet wines and are best served during the main part of the meal while sweet wines go well with dessert. … All the mumbo jumbo and rigamarole are not one bit necessary for true enjoyment of wine drinking (Price 416).
Now for the olives. The recipe calls for “stuffed olives”. I like olives, but that’s a vague term, stuffed with what? Jalapenos? Blue Cheese? Garlic? Since this recipe is from the 1960s, I bought the corniest looking jar of old-fashioned pimento stuffed olives I could find.
Unlike most paellas, this recipe does not require a paella pan, you need a large kettle.
As one who hosts tea parties on a regular basis, I do not want chicken in my tea kettle!
I’m sorry, I could never serve tea to my friends, knowing I cooked chicken in my kettle.
If I cooked chicken in my tea kettle, I would think the tea tastes like chicken, no matter how many times I washed the kettle.
After a google image search, I discovered many pans are “kettles”. I selected my soup pot, that was closest to the “kettles”, the only difference was the handle.
Thank goodness, because I was not sacrificing my tea kettle.
If you have not purchased pre-blanched almonds, you will need to make them. I must admit, I had no clue what a blanched almond was, I looked this up, but fortunately, they are easy.
Blanched Salted Almonds
- Boil water
- Add 3 1/2 oz of almonds
- Boil 1 minute
- Drain and rinse with cool water
- Remove the almond skins
- Sprinkle with salt
Oh, come on, did you think I would discuss “Blanching” without adding a little Tennessee Williams humor? I am a theater geek!
Paella Good Friend (Serves 6)
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF (163ºC)
- Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in kettle
- Add chicken, 2tsp salt, 1tsp pepper
- Cook uncovered for 15 minutes
The recipe asks for a 3.5 lb chicken cut into serving portions. As a reformed vegetarian, raw meat with bones in it intimidates me. I purchased deboned chicken. I know. I know. I tried. If you are less faint of heart, by all means get the whole chicken. I am certain removing the meat from the chicken adds a visceral quality to the experience, but I couldn’t do it.
- Add six small peeled onions
- Cook for 45 minutes
- Add 2 minced garlic cloves
- Add 2 1/2 cups of raw rice
- Mix well
- Add 1 cup dry white wine
- Add 3 cups chicken stock
- Cover and cook 45 minutes
- Add 1 tsp of oregano
- 3 1/2 oz blanched salted almonds
- 3/4 cup chopped stuffed olives
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- Keep hot in the oven
At this point, I freaked out. My paella was watery, rice was raw, but it smelled fantastic.
Possibly, this is why Price characterized the dish as an “arroz con pollo” as opposed to a “paella”. But the rice was not cooked, I omitted the 2 cups of chicken stock and put it back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
Curses, why did I opt for the arborio, the risotto rice?
Risotto is such a persnickety dish, why am I using risotto rice?
Did I learn nothing from watching Gordon Ramsay?!
My inner Gordon Ramsay went on a tirade and slammed a few pots and pans in my mind.
I got scared, Gordon berated me, and I decided I know absolutely nothing about cooking, I need to trust the recipe.
I added the necessary chicken stock and put it back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
- Heat 4 tbsp butter in a frying pan
- Quarter 12 medium mushrooms
- Sautée for 5 minutes
- Serve on top of the paella
A Treasury of Great Recipes suggests we serve the paella with a tossed green salad. I took a major shortcut and bought a Taylor Farms Southwest chopped salad kit. A Treasury of Great Recipes has a few salad recipes. My original selection “Mixed Green Salad” (304) includes escarole which I could not find. I understand it is currently in-season on the East Coast, but in California, it is available late autumn, early winter. Plus the bag said “Southwest” and this meal needed a little Southwest flair. Reception
The flavor is AMAZING! This dish is really tasty.
The rice was a little mushy (I am certain this was my fault due to the Gordon Ramsey themed “kitchen nightmare” chicken stock fiasco in the last step), but the almonds add a nice crunch to the texture.
I recommend any salad served with the dish be acidic to counteract the creaminess of the paella.
I am not an oregano fan, in the future, I would replace the oregano with cumin. This is an excellent recipe which can be tweaked to make a variety of flavors!
This dish was very time-consuming but the cook times are well spaced where you do not have to do a massive amount of preparation.
This evening’s meal was designed to pair with The Baron of Arizona (1950). Based on a real-life swindler James Addison Reavis (Price) who will stop at nothing to obtain ownership of Arizona and New Mexico over 18,600 square miles with a false Spanish land grant.
To substantiate his claim, he finds an abandoned child whom he establishes as the heiress of the Peralta land grant. As Sofia (Ellen Drew) grows up, Reavis completes his plot by marrying Sofia and managing the Peralta land.
What makes this movie fantastic, are the feats Reavis completes while legitimizing his “claim”. As Reavis, Price plays the perfect antihero, and despite his unmitigated gall, you cannot help but root for the guy!
Directed by Samuel Fuller, The Baron of Arizona is a delightful and compelling adventure.
Hulu subscribers can see the film through Hulu.
If you are a Vincent Price fan, this book is a fascinating read.
As a couple, Vincent and Mary were amazing entertainers, who brought the wonderful delights from their travels to share with their family and friends.
Ciao for now, Dearies!
Burrell, Jackie. “Paella Rice: Bomba vs. Arborio.” – San Jose Mercury News. Contra Costa Times, 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.
Price, Mary, and Vincent Price. A Treasury of Great Recipes; Famous Specialties of the World’s Foremost Restaurants Adapted for the American Kitchen. 50th Anniversary Edition ed. Mineola, New York: Calla Edition an Imprint of Dover Publications, 2015. Print.