Wedding season is glorious.
I love getting dressed up. I love drinking champagne. I love rocking out way too hard on the dance floor with the Husband. I love the many, multiple reasons to come home to Boston and see my friends.
And I love going to bridal showers hosted by my mom.
A little over a year ago, my mom called me in a panic. She’d offered to do the bridal shower for her BFF’s daughter, but now she didn’t know what that actually entailed. Food? Decor? Drinks? She was supposed to figure out GAMES!?! She asked me if it’d be appropriate to call in sick, citing European-ness. (According to my mom the German, Europeans just don’t DO showers.) She made her delicious Beef Bourgouignon, and needless to say, the shower was amazing.
Last night, my mom hosted a shower for another friend’s daughter. As we cleaned up the kitchen, she turned to me and said, “this is just the most wonderful tradition.”
Agreed, Mom. Made all the more wonderful by this lobster paella. That’s right. Lobster paella.
Lobster Paella (Recipe adapted from Ina Garten)
- olive oil
- 2-3 chopped yellow onions
- 2-3 red bell peppers, sliced
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- salt & pepper (about a teaspoon each)
- 1/3 cup Pernod or Ouzo
- 1.5-2 pounds cooked lobster meat
- 1 pound cooked shrimp
- 1 pound kielbasa, sliced
- 1 package frozen peas
- for serving: parsley, lemon wedges
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in large, ovenproof Dutch oven. Add onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook an additional 5 minutes. Lower heat, add minced garlic and cook another minute. Stir in rice, chicken stock, saffron, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover pot and place it in the oven.
- Cook in the oven for about 12 minutes, remove, stir rice gently, and return to the oven to bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes (or until rice is fully cooked).
- Remove from oven and transfer back to the stove top. Add Ouzo or Pernod and cook over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat; add lobster, shrimp, kielbasa, and peas. Cover and allow to steam through, about 10 minutes, so all of the protein heats through. Sprinkle with lemon and/or parsley and serve hot.
That was one happy bride-to-be. And for an extra bonus round, we sent guests home with peppermint patties from Chequessett Chocolate and felt mighty pleased with ourselves. (We kept the leftovers for us!)