About Us

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Welcome to Windy City Paella! Although we have been making paella non-stop for 15 years, my husband and I first learned to make paella during the five years we lived near Valencia, Spain. Although you can now get paella throughout Spain, the Valencian Community is widely considered the home of authentic and traditional paella. Almost every weekend during those five years, we retreated to the mountains of coastal Valencia (more specifically, the province of Castellón, which forms the northern third of the Valencian Community) to hike, forage for wild herbs and most importantly, make a traditional Sunday paella with our Spanish friends. We were amazed that such a simple dish could be so delicious. Before returning to the US, we decided to purchase all the necessary pans, burners and equipment from our local neighborhood hardware store. Yes, in Spain they sell everything you need for paella at the hardware store! We knew it would be next to impossible to find everything we need back in the US so we stocked up and had everything we needed shipped back. Although we knew that such a dish would be a huge hit in the States, we quickly found that, in addition for cooking for family and friends, word of mouth meant we were soon catering parties and events and Windy City Paella was born. I think the main reason for our success, besides the traditional cooking methods and authenticity and freshness of the dish, is that paella is a real crowd pleaser that adjusts nicely to almost everyone's palette, including children, who seem especially fond of the dish. Paella the dish itself is quite simple. All of our cooking is done in one or multiple pans, onsite. It's been our experience that the smell and the sight of the paella cooking can and will draw quite a crowd, especially since we cook everything from scratch. If you think a paella party or event is right for you or your organization, please see the section labelled "Catering Options Available".

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Catering Options Available

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We would love to help you throw your very own paella party or event! We have done many different types of events - weddings, showers, school events, private parties, corporate events - you name it. We can accommodate almost anything within reason, although I will state up front that the best event is that which allows us to be as authentic with the food as possible. The Spanish take their food very seriously, they were kind enough to show us how to prepare it properly, and we like to keep to their traditions to the best of our abilities. Although in all cases a paella is the star of the show, we can easily put together a more complete package - first course, second course, dessert, drinks, etc, - if that is so desired. We leave that up to the hosts. Some people prefer to cater just the paella and bring all the rest themselves, others want the full Spanish experience with tapas, sangria - the works - it is totally up to the host. Feel free to contact us at emma@wcpaella.com, call 708-364-1366 or click on "Catering Menu" at the top of this page. We are confident that we will give you an experience that your guests won't soon forget!

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The Perfect Paella For Your Event

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The question of which paella to serve at an event frequently comes up. The answer is that it really depends on the taste and preferences of the guests you plan to invite. Personally, my favorite paella also happens to be the most traditional paella and the paella we most often prepared in the mountains of Spain. We call it "Paella Castellonesa" in honor of the province of Castellón where it is most prepared. It consists of pork, chicken, sweet red pepper, green beans, tomatoes, saffron, rosemary and rice. I like this paella best of all because it is so tasty and appeals to so many different people. I have yet to find someone who does not like this paella! In addition to our "Paella Castellonesa", some other past popular versions have been: Paella Marinera - A wonderful seafood paella consisting of firm-fleshed fish, squid, shrimp and shellfish. I like to serve this one with lemon wedges which seems to brighten the dish and really bring out the freshness of the seafood. Arroz negro - Another delicious seafood paella consisting primarily of rice served with squid in its own ink. I know it sounds crazy but it is absolutely delicious! "Arroz Negro" translates to "Black Rice" and, although mostly unknown to the American palette, the salty ink gives the dish a depth of color and fresh seafood flavor that has to be tasted in order to be understood. It is traditionally served with aioli sauce on the side. When I want a seafood paella, this is generally the one I like to make. Paella de la Huerta - A vegan paella featuring in-season vegetables and legumes. This one we mix up depending on what is in season. Like the previous paella, I like to serve this one with aioli as well to give it an extra garlicky kick. Trust me, you don't have to be a vegan to enjoy this paella! Paella de Bacalao (Salt Cod Paella) - A more subdued and traditional paella that uses plenty of previously salted cod that has been rinsed in several changes of fresh water. The salting of the cod gives the flesh a firmer texture that holds up extremely well in rice dishes like this one. This paella is deliberately understated but still shines. And you guessed it, those seeking bolder tastes can add a dollop of aioli and lemon! Paella con Pollo y Chorizo - This is a paella featuring chicken, locally-made chorizo and optional mussels. For a long time, I refused to make this dish because chorizo in paella is considered heresy within the Valencian Community. But after receiving so many requests, I eventually relented and, boy, am I glad we did. While not a 'paella" in the traditional Valencian sense, the hand-made chorizo we can get locally is wonderful and it adds a piquant, warming flavor to the dish that really goes well with the rice and other ingredients. In addition to paellas, we can round out your meal with tapas, fresh salads, flan, wine and coffee. Give us a call and we can work together to prepare a personalized menu!

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