Ignore the name. This is essentially Spanish style rice and shrimp. Technically, it’s a paella, made in a paella (yes, that’s what they call the pan) or a paellera, for us boobs. :) But I made this the same way I saw a celebrated Spanish chef make an “Arroz…” which differs from the way I make a classic paella so I have taken the liberty of naming this Arroz con Gambas. Actually, this dish turned out brilliantly. It required shamefully little effort for such a tasty result. An early morning trip to the Nasugbu market yielded a wonderful bounty of the freshest looking seafood and luckily, we had several cups of sofrito in the freezer so I knew exactly what I was going to attempt with a kilo of medium sized suahe or white shrimp.
Into a large paella pan over hot coals, add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute a finely chopped onion and 5 cloves of minced garlic for a minute or so and add 10-11 cups of very hot chicken broth and 3 cups of defrosted sofrito. Actually, if you have frozen sofrito and are in a hurry, put the sofrito directly into the broth as you heat it up so all liquids/flavorings are in one pot. Wait for the broth/sofrito mixture to reach a gentle simmer before adding in roughly 1.1 kilos of Spanish short-grain paella rice, or 5 cups worth. Notice the change in technique. For a normal paella, I saute the chorizo, other meats, etc., then add the rice and coat it with the oil and meat juices; but here, I add the rice directly into boiling broth/liquid. Stir the rice a bit immediately after you add it to the liquid and try and even it out on the bottom of your paellera. Don’t stir it again. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and wait for the rice to return to a simmer. Add 1 kilo of suahe onto the top of the rice and cover the barbecue and let this cook a total of 16-20 minutes more, checking the rice every few minutes and adjusting the fire so as not to overcook or burn the rice. Take the arroz con gambas off the flames when the rice is al dente and there is still some cooking liquid gurgling away. Cover with several sheets of newspaper and let this rest for 5-10 minutes (it finishes cooking here and absorbs any remaining liquids) while you get the table and rest of your meal ready. Chow heartily. This sized dish served ten people easily. Total cost was roughly PHP750 (PHP250 shrimp, PHP220 rice, PHP100 sofrito, amortized crew 1 hour @PHP100, etc. PHP80) or just PHP75 per person. The rice was light and incredibly flavorful. The shrimp almost sweet. Simple and delicious!