Not For the Faint Hearted!

Can you believe it? Your looking at SQUID! I actually learned to clean squid for my Northwest Seafood Paella. I have to say, this is not the way I really intend to get calamari in the future. I was so grossed out having to grab the squid by the head, encase you are noticing. . .the head is all eyeballs. . .YUCK!, and pull. Maybe I am just acting like a twinkie but Dang it! I don't LIKE pulling things out by their eyeballs!
All the guts are attached to the head and usually slide right out. I would like to say, usually. When they don't, you have to scrape them out. I went to a website called to figure out just how to do this wisely. I learned a lot and this website shows you great how-to pictures. What really shocked me is that the outside skin of the squid wipes right off. The easiest part. I wanted calamari rings but after I realized that I was pulling the head and all attached innards out, well, I wanted to make sure the little creature was all the way clean, so I split it down the middle with my trusty knife. We had calamari strips.

I have always heard that calamari gets tough when you cook it but maybe in this recipe, there was the perfect cooking environment because the calamari strips were really tender. I wish I can't had to clean them first because I actually had issues with eating my Paella.

I was dying to participate in the one-pot cooking dish event but I am also doing college finals and working. . .so after making this dish at the last minute, well, I ran out of time! I happen to be pretty bummed because I wanted to share this recipe with everyone. I like the flavors AND. . .this part is really cool. . .this whole dish goes together in minutes IF you buy pre-cleaned calamari. Also, for the lobster tails, if it is affordable, get ones that are at least 6 ounces.

Don't be afraid of the seasonings either. This makes enough for 8 servings. I used my Cuisinart dutch oven to make this because the pot starts on top of the stove and moves to the oven to finish cooking. I froze leftovers because I want to make several other dishes this week and there is no way we can eat everything right this second. Hhmm, I do love having dinners in the freezer for later when I am completely swamped though. By the way, this is my Mom's recipe and I have no idea where she got it. I have new respect for her for the cleaning seafood part. Ooohhh, I didn't mention I cleaned my first Halibut fillet for this too. By the time I was done with this little 8 ounce fillet, there were so many jagged points going in every direction that the fillet actually looked like I gnawed the skin off with my teeth. Boy, did I forget to have Mom teach me a few things before leaving home.
Northwest Seafood Paella

7 cups water
2 cups favorite white wine
1 1/2 medium onions, diced
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 T. garlic, minced
1/2 c. tomato paste
1/3 c. canned peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 t. black pepper
5 bay leaves
1/4 c. salt (you have a LOT of rice and seafood so this amount is not salty)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 c. beer
10 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
10 ounces medium scallops
10 ounces cubed firm-fish (I use Halibut or Salmon . . .any firm fish will do)
10 ounces cleaned squid bodies, cut in large rings
10 ounces boneless chicken breast, cut in strips
1 1/4 c. long grain rice
1 1/4 c. Valencia rice (this is short grained Spanish rice like Risotto. . .which will do fine. . .or look in the Spanish section of your grocery for short grain rice)
4 mussels
2 lobster tails, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees R. Combine all the ingredients, except for the mussels and lobster, into a large cooking pot and stir well. Cook on stove top over high heat for 15 minutes. Add the mussels and lobster, cover, and place in the oven for 35 minutes. Uncover and serve.


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