Earlier this week, I promised my son that I would make him Paella. After a false start that ended at a local pizza restaurant, we had our introduction to Paella tonight. I haven’t made Paella since my son started eating solids, despite the fact that it is one of my husband’s favorite meals. Lately “Fast” is more important at dinner time than “Favorite”, and Paella, like most recipes that require more than five ingredients has gone by the wayside.
But this is important, I need to know that my son won’t have to subsist on French fries and olives in Spain and I REFUSE to miss any meal opportunities on the trip by eating someplace that serves chicken nuggets and peanut butter sandwiches.
Cooks Illustrated Magazine happened to have a Paella recipe this month, and I gave it a try. I left out the shrimp and clams because my daughter (who loves to eat everything) is too young for shellfish. That left chicken, chorizo, rice, peas, and peppers. It smelled great in the oven, and as soon as I took it out, I knew it would be fantastic, but would my picky toddler agree?
I don’t make a second meal if E rejects the first one, but I always serve at least one thing I know he will like. Tonight I heated up some pre-made Spanish White Beans with Vegetables from Trader Joe’s. Beans are almost always a hit.
I’ve been talking to E about the paella for a couple of days now (especially since I’d planned to serve it last night), so there’s been lots of dramatic build up. He was in the room when I removed the Paella from the oven, so invited him over to look at the unveiling “oh, there’s rice, green peppers, red peppers and peas” he said. Seemed like a good sign.
I set E up a plate with beans, paella, and (and this was a stroke of brilliance) a lemon wedge to squeeze over the paella. E delighted in squeezing that lime all over his paella, and after an agonizing amount of time a little bit made it in his mouth. In the end, he picked out all the peas, all the chicken, and all the sausage, and ate a lot of rice. Not my first choice, but a victory nonetheless. And the beans? Untouched.