University of Houston Lecture: Texas Mexican Cuisine

This is a bookmark for students of yesterday’s class, part of the course, “Mexican American Culture,” at the University of Houston.TexasMexicanCuisine1The central, gulf coast and southern regions of Texas are the ancestral homelands of indigenous peoples, like the Karnkawas, Tonkawas, Coapites, our ancestors, who taught us the culinary techniques, ingredients and tools that we use today in Mexican American homes.  This is the site of the Olmos  Dam archaeological dig in San Antonio.  Found during a construction project in 1980′s, archaeologists believe this to be an earth oven.  The Olmos Dam site is 100 acres large and was home to generations of Native Americans, ancestors of today’s San Antonio Mexican Americans.  Baking, roasting, steaming and other techniques are handed down from generation to the next.  The date of this San Antonio earth oven has been fixed at between 4,000 and 4,5000 years ago (Dial et al. August 2010).
OmosDamSiteOvenThese are some of the dishes that we discussed during the class:  Agua de Jamaica, Albóndigas de Chile Ancho, and Chile Relleno.  All of the dishes use chiles (Well, not the Agua de Jamaica.  That has vodka).  But remember that chiles are for flavor and aroma, not for the level of capsaicin.  If you emphasize the level of “heat” and are going down the path of “killer” this or “3 alarm” that,  you’ve taken the wrong culinary turn.  It’s about the taste, flavor, aroma.TexasMexicanDishes3I have a select bibliography about Texas Indians and Texas Mexican food.  If you’d like a copy, please leave a comment or email me.

Let’s talk again and, next time, do some cooking.
Thank you.

Dial, Susan, and Steve Black. Texas Beyond History, Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin, “Olmos Dam.” Last modified August 2010. Accessed April 16, 2014.

New Book on Texas Mexican Food, with 100 Recipes

Available now for advance purchase at Amazon,   Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and other retailers.Truly Texas Mexican_coverTruly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes is the culinary story of the Texas Indians, Native Americans who are the ancestors of today’s Mexican American people of Texas.

Here’s what Chefs are saying:

  • “Adán Medrano speaks from his roots and shares his passion for food, providing an insightful perspective on an often mischaracterized Texas Mexican cuisine.”
    Alain Dubernard, CMB, The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio
  • “In the deepest part of our soul we are celebrating food and hospitality. These recipes share not only where our culinary traditions come from, but the resiliency of our ancestors and the healing power of food.”
    ―Johnny Hernández
    , chef/owner of La Gloria Street Foods of Mexico, The Frutería-Botanero, and El Machito
  •  ”Adán Medrano is putting the spotlight on a style of food that often has been overlooked. Once you explore this remarkable Texas Mexican cuisine you will discover a richness that will be cherished for generations to come.”
    Diana Barrios Treviño, owner of Los Barrios Enterprises

 Beginning in 900 AD, the point at which anthropologists identify distinct native communities and cultures in Texas, I describe the hundreds of indigenous tribes and their cuisine:  how they gathered and hunted food, planted gardens and cooked.  By detailing their culinary techniques developed over centuries–roasting, boiling, steaming, salting, drying, grinding, blending– I show the progression of foodways from one generation to the next. Blending foreign with native ingredients and using tested techniques, they created the delicious flavor profile of Indigenous Texas Mexican cooking today.

I should mention that my book is not about what is termed Tex-Mex food.  In Truly Texas Mexican I explain the differences between so-called Tex-Mex and the flavor profile of our indigenous Texas Mexican food.

AnaheimchilesmlThis unique flavor profile is laid out extensively in 100 recipes, each kitchen-tested and with step-by-step instructions.  Illustrated with full color photographs, the recipes shed a new culinary perspective on well-known dishes, like enchiladas and tamales by explaining the complexities of aromatic chiles and variously textured corn flours.  The recipes show how to develop flavor through technique as much as through ingredients.  The secrets of lesser known culinary delights are freely shared, such as the recipe for Turcos, sweet aromatic pork pastries, and  Posole, giant white corn treated with calcium hydroxide.

I learned these recipes from my amá (mother) and family since childhood.  Later, as I worked professionally, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and reconnected with home cooks, I came to realize that cooking is a powerful cultural practice integral to the history of Texas Indians, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Chicano people of today.

In sharing personal anecdotes, I hope to illuminate the role this cuisine plays in identity and community.  I also want to share with the wider cooking community:  delicous recipes, steeped in tradition, cooked for today’s lifestyle.

Grilled Clams in Tequila Broth

This recipe uses ingredients that were being employed and enjoyed by our Texas Indian ancestors long before 1400.  Archeologists have been able to determine that clams along the coastal bays were harvested most heavily from mid-April to late-July.  They were sometimes steamed in earth ovens lined with shells, but they were also cooked and smoked over hot rocks. (Dial, Black, Ricklis, Weinstein & ….Smith, 2009)

In this Texas Mexican recipe I grill the clams over an open Pecan wood fire. Then I toss them in a broth that combines Tequila with the juice of tomatoes and onions.  Mexican oregano finishes the dish with  an aromatic flair. 
The grilled, smoked elotes (corn) in the background make an excellent accompaniment.  That’s a party!

Recipe (serves 4 as an appetizer)

12 clams, washed and scrubbed
2 fluid ounces good quality white tequila.
2 Roma tomatoes, small dice
1 1/2 Tbsp white onion, minced
1 Tbsp Mexican Oregano, minced
1/4 tsp salt

1.  Light a small fire using Pecan wood. I use small pieces or logs of wood (10″) so you can control the heat.  To ignite them, use little balls of paper towels soaked in vegetable oil if you don’t have kindling.  When coals form, distribute them such that you have a hot zone (you can hold your hand over the coals no more than 3 seconds) and a less hot zone (5 seconds).

  • Alternately, use store-bought charcoal or your gas or electric grill.  I suggest adding some Pecan wood chips soaked in water if you can.  The smoke really infuses a wonderful taste dimension.

2. Place the tequila, tomatoes, onion, oregano and salt in a saucepan.  Place it over the low heat zone until the onions and tomatoes get soft and a juicy broth forms.  Meanwhile, relax and enjoy a beer.

3. Place the scrubbed clams directly on the grill on the hot zone.  In about five minutes the clams will start to pop open and as they do they’ll absorb the pecan smoke flavor.

4. Using a spatula or a large spoon, remove the clams from the smoke and place them in the tequila broth, tossing them slightly to combine all the ingredients.  The shells will be very hot and help to cook the vegetables further in the clam juice.

5. At this point you can hold them warm on the grill until you are ready to serve them with a nice crusty bread.  Invite me to your party!

¡Buen Provecho!


Dial, S., Black, S., Ricklis, R., Weinstein, R., & .Smith, S. (2009, Spring). Texas beyond history, shellfish. Retrieved from



Posole, Pozole: White Corn Flowerettes In Aromatic Red Chile


Large white corn kernels pop open to form small little flowers.
Brilliant the cook that invented this attractive dish.PozoleKernelssml

Cooked with special combinations of red chiles it is a traditional dish that is also cooked by native communities northwest of us, Pueblos in New Mexico and Navajos in Arizona (Keegan, 2010). It is traditional from our Texas Mexican region all the day down to Jalisco, Mexico. It is spelled with an S in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico and with a Z in Mexico.  Pork is used to make the broth.  In this version I omit the pork and it is a vegan feast recalling the pre-pork days of our cuisine.

The process is molecular. Boil white, dry corn with calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) a process called nixtamalization which was invented by indigenous cooks thousands of years ago. Nixtamalization is from the Nahuatl root words, “nextli,” ashes and “tamallii,” tamal. The process changes the chemical structure of the kernel, making niacin available in digestion and boosting the availability of protein.


Nixtamalization heightens the availability of protein and removes the hull. The pedicle is removed for visual effect.


It also removes the skin from the kernel and improves the taste.  This is natural molecular cooking and the result is wonderfully nutty hominy.

If you don’t have the time for nixtamalization, you can certainly use canned hominy, maiz pozolero.

Recipe:  (Serves 8-12)

For the corn
1 ½ lbs Cacahuazintle, dried white corn for pozole. In Houston I buy this large white dried corn from any of our corn mills that perform nixtamalization to make tortillas and masa for tamales.
1 Tbs Calcium Hydroxide (slaked lime)
5 Garlic cloves
1 Tbs Salt
1 White onion, peeled and  cut into quarters

For the chile paste:
3 Guajillo Chiles, deseeded and deveined
2 Chiles Ancho
3 Garlic cloves
1 Tbs dry Mexican Oregano
1 tsp Cumin seeds

½ Cabbage, sliced into thin strips (I sometimes use shredded Iceberg lettuce)
1 bunch Radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup White Onion, small dice
3 Mexican limes, cut into wedges
1 bunch fresh Cilantro, coarsely chopped

The corn:
1. The night before, place the dry corn in a large pot and fill with water 4 inches above the corn.  Soak overnight.

2.  The following day, discard the water, then add  clean water and the calcium hydroxide, “cal.” Bring the water to a boil and boil the corn for 15 minutes. Check doneness by taking out one kernel and rubbing between your thumb and forefinger. If the outer, slippery skin rubs off easily, the corn is done. Let the corn soak in the water for 10 minutes, then drain.MaizPozolerosml

3. Place the corn in a bowl or pot of clean water and vigorously rub the kernels together to scrape away the slippery skin from all the kernels. Change the water as needed until you get no debris and the corn is clean and white. This is labor intensive. Some of the little brown seed germs on the kernel tips will fall off. That’s very good, because they have to be removed.

4. Use your fingernails or a knife or scissors to take off the little brown seed germ, pedicel, at the tip of each kernel. Although it’s not traditional, you can leave the pedicel on if you like.  Set aside.

The Chile paste:

5. Remove the seeds from the chiles by cutting a slit lengthwise in each chile to open it and remove the stem with the attached seeds. Remove all the other seeds in the chile pod.

6. Place the chiles in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let the chiles steep for 15 minutes so they will re-hydrate. Drain and allow to cool. Discard the water.

7. Place the chiles, garlic, oregano and cumin in a blender. Add one cup of clean water and blend on high until the paste is completely smooth, with no large particles. It is ok to add a little more water if needed. If there are large particles in the paste after you are done blending, strain the paste through a fine mesh sieve.

8. Add the chile paste to the cleaned corn, adding enough water to cover three inches above the corn, and boil it for one hour or longer until the kernels burst open like little flower buds.  If you have kids, they’ll love this transformation.

Serve the pozole in bowls accompanied by finely shredded cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, lime wedges, Cilantro and diced white onion. Of course, steaming corn tortillas.


Posole: A vegan feast recalling our pre-pork cuisine.


Keegan, M. (2010). Southwest indian cookbook. Santa Fe: Clear Light Publishing.



Texas Mexican Crab Cocktail

When I bite into the succulent, sweet Texas Gulf crab meat I am taken back in time.

It is 1528 when Karankawas find bedraggled Spaniards shipwrecked on their shores, now called Galveston Island. Lucky for the Spaniards that the Karankawa nurse them, feed them.  Evidence of Karankawa civilization and food dates back to 700 AD so that  by 1500 our  Texas Indian ancestors have been preparing and eating seafood for centuries.(1)  They grilled seafood and also steamed it in shell-lined hearths.  Every Texas Gulf seafood dish today recalls our indigenous past.

I’ve chosen to prepare this  Texas Mexican crab cocktail because it is delicious for Springtime.  It has three layers, each distinctive in flavor and texture, that blend together beautifully.

Recipe (serves four as an appetizer)


1/2 lb lump crab meat, picked over, rinsed thoroughly in iced water and patted dry.

For the Pico de Gallo (called “Salsa Mexicana” in Mexico)

4 roma tomatoes, concasse
3 Tbs white onion, small dice
2 Tbs Jalapeño chile, seeded, deveined and diced small
3 Tbs Cilantro, coarsely chopped
juice of 2 Mexican limes
1/4 tsp salt

4 sprigs Cilantro for garnish

One Guacamole recipe as in my previous blog, but omitting the diced tomato and diced onion at the end.

4 Mexican limes, sliced in half

To prepare the pico de gallo I peel and seed the tomatoes (concassé) which is anathema in Texas Mexican cuisine.  We never peel the tomatoes.  Tomato peel is rich in lycopene which is a super-effective anti-oxidant and adds significantly to a healthy diet.  But, I’m doing so in this particular dish just because I want to show how to peel tomatoes if you ever have to or want to.   Besides, it gives a nod to the French side of our Texas Mexican history.  In regular pico de gallo the tomato is not peeled.

1. In a 3-quart saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.

2. With a sharp knife, pierce the skin of each tomato by making an X that extends all across the tomato.  You can see this in the picture to the right.  As best you can, cut only the skin and not the flesh.

3.  Place the tomatoes in the boiling water for only 30 seconds.

4.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

5.  Peel the skin off each tomato, quarter them and seed them.  Then dice them small.

6. Combine the tomatoes concassé with the diced onion, diced Jalapeño chile, Cilantro, lime and salt.  Felicidades!  That’s the pico de gallo.

7.  In chilled sherbet glasses layer the guacamole on the bottom, then the pico de gallo (NOTE: save some for garnish on top) and finally the lump crabmeat.

8. Garnish with a little pico de gallo and a sprig of Cilantro.   Serve with halved Mexican limes.

As always, please let me know how this turns out if you make it. Hasta luego,


NOTES:  (1) The Indians of Texas, W.W. Newcomb, Jr.


Meatballs in Tomato Sauce – Albóndigas en Salsa De Tomate

Meatballs can be German, Swedish, Italian, Spanish or Mexican, pivoting toward this way or that, depending on the addition of ingredients specific to a country’s flavor profile.

My recipe here is in no way a traditional Mexican albóndiga, but it is Mexican-inspired because it is based on the classic trio combination of chile (here it’s Chile De Arbol), white onion and garlic.  The flavor  all happens in a molcajete, as you’llChileAjoPasteMolcajetesee in the recipe.   To reduce the amount of fat, I oven-roast the meatballs on high heat, browning them and thus imparting flavor and color. By adding the Mexican oregano, not from central Mexico but the one  that is native to Texas and northern Mexico, Poliomintha longiflora, these albóndigas become quite delicious Texas Mexican meatballs immersed in hearty tomato sauce.

Recipe:(makes 18 meatballs)

1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1-2 slices bread, ground finely into bread crumbs, 1/2 cup
1 Chile De Arbol
2 Garlic Cloves
3 Tbs white onion, small dice
1 tsp Salt
3 Tbs Parsley, finely minced
Hearty  Tomato Sauce Recipe from blog post
2-3 sprigs Texas Mexican Oregano

ChileAjoPasteMolcajetesmlMethod: Preheat oven to 4000F
1.  In a molcajete, grind the chile, onion, garlic and salt into a fine paste
2. In a large bowl combine the pork, beef,  molcajete paste, parsley and bread crumbs.  Make sure the molcajete paste is thoroughly combined into the meat.
3. Form into 2 1/2 inches diameter balls and place two inches apart on a baking sheet with sides.
4.  Place in the pre-heated oven and roast for 40-45 minutes until they develop a deep brown color and slightly crispy exterior.
5.  Transfer to a caserrole and cover with the hearty tomato sauce, adding the sprigs of oregano.   You can hold the dish warm until you are ready to serve.

When ready to serve, heat in a 3000F oven until the sauce bubbles.

¡Buen provecho!



Pimento Cheese Spread — Chile Dulce With Cheese

I love this chile-cheese spread.  It’s common all across the southern US, and it is so beloved that folk get into nasty fights and feuds about the correct ingredients and taste.
Long live beloved food! ChileDulceConQueso

This recipe is rich and bold, contrasting the roasted, pungent sweetness of Chile Dulce (red bell pepper or pimento) with really good Cheddar cheese.  I add some Chile De Arbol for a slight fiery kick that heightens the taste.

ChileDulceStripssmlChile Dulce  is native to Mexico and was taken to Spain  by Christopher Columbus.  The Spaniards loved the sweet, non-hot taste of this chile, and eventually made it an essential ingredient of their traditional cuisine.  They call it Pimentón.  By the 1560′s, these chiles had reached the Balkans where they were called peperke or paparka (Filippone).   Hungary was particularly creative in making a home for the Chile Dulce, calling it “Paprika,” and it is now central to Hungarian cuisine.

The name change from “chile” to “pepper” is based on the confusion of the Europeans upon encountering the Mexican chiles.  Columbus and others were actually looking for India, so when they landed in the Caribbean and South America they called us “Indians.”  The name stuck.  Also, the only hot, fiery spice the Spaniards knew was the Black Pepper of India, “Pimienta.” So, they applied that name to the chile, “Pimentón.”  And that’s how we now  have “Pimento Cheese” instead of what I call it: “Chile Dulce With Cheese.”  Hmmm, language and food.

Enough talk.  Let’s eat!

Recipe (Makes 3 cups)

1 lb Cheddar Cheese, grated.  Use really tasty cheddar.
10 ounces Roasted “Red Bell Peppers,” small dice. Store-bought, usually in a 12-ounce jar.
3/4 cup Mayonnaise.  You’re probably not making your own, so buy a high quality brand.
1 Large Chile De Arbol (1/4 tsp) ground to a fine powder using a molcajete or spice grinder
Salt to taste
A generous grind of Black Pepper, “Pimienta”

1.  In a large bowl,  blend together the mayonnaise and chile de arbol
2.  Add the cheddar, the chile dulce, and mix thouroughly using a rubber spatula.
3. Taste, and add a little salt if needed.  I usually add about 1/4 tsp, depending on the saltiness of the cheese.  Give a good grind with the Black Pepper mill.
3. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Before serving, make sure to bring it back to room temperature to release the aroma and flavors.

Serve it as a spread with a variety of crackers or make sandwiches, cut into quarters.


Filippone, P. [Web log message]. Retrieved from

What Do Food And Film Have in Common? #3: “Layering”

Logo Adan

“Layering” happens when one element is placed over another so that we experience them separately and also together over time.  Both film and food use the technique of layering to provide a dense and revelatory experience that pushes us beyond a one-dimensional and simplistic way of experiencing the world around us.  Think of the many layers of textures and taste in a breakfast taco and compare that to films that superimpose images one over another.

Houston is a new feature by Bastian Günther that relies on the layering of images, one over the other, to create its view that today’s corporate, commercial, global economy is vapid.  The film is visually stunning, due in no small part to the use of found old camera lenses that refract light magnificently and during important scenes flood the screen image with multi-colored beams and spots.

Shooting completely on 35mm film, not digital as is mainly the case today, Günther worked with cameraman, Michael Kotschi, to first find the lenses (Europe and LA) and then use them to capture light and layer it over the image to give certain scenes added dimensions of meaning.  The movie is about Clemens Trunschka, a depressed headhunter from Germany travelling to Houston to hire a high-ranking executive.  His trip is a miserable failure.  What enriches the film’s fine writing and directing and helps make it go beyond the expected “blame global corporations for our troubles” films is this use of layering.  When I saw the lens flares, spots and beams (and there are a lot of them in this film) I found myself considering other questions about how natural elements are always at play with humanly-constructed ones, and that light is pervasive.

A second layering technique Günther uses is superimposition.  HoustonLayering1sml

Not to worry, he stays very far from clichés and pointless artifice.  When he overlays certain images over others, they make sense individually and together to advance the movie’s point that we are all bundled up with money, technology, a corporate economy and we are trying to make our way through this stuff.  The film is really intriguing, and every shot is there for a reason. I often wonder if only independent filmmakers are capable of making films that are so visually rich.  Well probably not, but it’s interesting that the Houston premiere of Houston was hosted not by a commercial venue but by The Southwest Alternate Media Project, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Cinema Arts Festival and the Houston Film Commission.

“Layering” is a culinary term that describes how one flavor or texture  is placed over another to create a dish that besides being delicious, is rich, multifaceted, complex.  Chef Hinnerk Von Bargen, Faculty at the Culinary Institute of America and author of the book, Street Foods, explains that “everything is assembled, sometimes at the last moment, and you first detect each individual flavor, then it gradually comes altogether, but not in a homogenous way.”  He points to French ratatouille and German braised cabbage as dishes that develop phenomenal flavor as a result of layering.  A very familiar example is a hamburger where the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle are layered over the meat and the bun is layered over that.  Chef Von Bargen says that even the sesame seed on top of the bun is a layered flavor and texture element that helps to nuance the eating experience.

Papas con Huevo 3

“Papas Con Huevo” taco employs the culinary technique of layering flavors.

“Papas Con Huevo” taco is a perfect example of successful layering.  In this taco, the potato is first layered with a crisped surface, this accomplished by sautéeing, which changes both the color and the taste of the potato.  Egg is layered over that.

The flour tortilla has two layers, a softer inner core and a thin, crispy surface leaf that develops when cooked properly.  In the picture you can see that the surface leaf is bubbling out.  Honestly, I sometimes cannot wait for the taco and I just eat the tortilla as is. I advise my friends to never think of a tortilla as a “wrap.” That understanding of the tortilla is simplistic, one-dimensional, and ignores the several taste and texture dimensions that are a result of layering.

It’s obvious, of course that placing the “papa con huevo” inside the tortilla is creating yet another layer of complexity.  And when you finish the taco with a layer of red salsa, oh my goodness, you have created a taco that is rich, multifaceted, and perfectly delicious.

“Layering” helps both film and food become art forms that are dense, complex and beautiful.


2013 End Of Year: Food & Film

I burn this fire on the last day of the year.
On a piece of paper, I write my ups and downs of 2013 and sign it.
I throw it into the fire.

In this last blog I’m going to simply list some favorite 2013 food and film posts.  I hope I’ve posted some things that you found interesting.  It’s been a delicious year, and I welcome all that 2014 will bring.

Chicano Films and Indigenous Texas Mexican Food

Grilled Clams in Tequila Broth ClamsElote2sml

Stereotypes In Food & Film

Chef Iliana De La Vega Admonition on how to cook good food, culturally relevant and delicious.

Chef Johnny Hernandez emphasizes the subtleties of food, and the importance of ownership.

And finally, a toast to the new year and my New Book with a Red Jalapeño Champagne Cocktail.

Truly Texas Mexican_cover










Happy 2014!

Paella for Amigas y Amigos

Paella is Spanish for friendship?  I think so.

In Texas, the  term “Spanish” was sometimes used (euphemistically) to mean Mexican, or Mexican American.  Restaurants serving Mexican food sometimes called themselves “Spanish” as in village or flowers. Not so much today.  We enjoy festive Paella without ever confusing it with any of our delicious Mexican regional dishes that showcase rice like Calabacita con Pollo and, my favorite,  Arroz con Pollo.

All of my Chicano Chef friends have their own very personal version of Paella. This Paella recipe is one that I’ve made personal simply by using Texas smoked sausage and Texas Gulf coast shrimp.  Brown the sausage first and then use the drippings to brown the chicken.  Deglazing leaves you with a robust flavor addition to the cooking liquid.  It’s a beautiful dish for parties, friends.

Recipe (serves 6)
3/4 lb Smoked Sausage, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1 lb Chicken, skinned, cut up into small pieces
3 cups Arborio Rice (Purists keep nagging me that this should be the Spanish bomba rice.  OK, you have been heard! I’ll discuss that in another post about Texas adaptations.)
1 1/2 tsp Saffron threads
1/2 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined. I like Texas Gulf coast
10 Mussels, scrubbed clean, de-bearded
10 Clams, scrubbed clean
6 oz. Scallops, (If using sea scallops, I cut them in half)
1 1/2 cups Green Peas
3/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, sliced into  1/4″ X 3″strips
1/4 cup Onion, diced
1 small garlic clove, minced and crushed
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
Lemon wedges
1.  In a saucepan, heat the water and chicken stock, add the saffron threads and garlic and steep for 5 minutes.
2.  In a paella pan, cook the sausage on medium heat until it is browned.  Remove the sausage and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat
3. On high heat, add the chicken and onions and cook until the chicken is slightly golden and the onions translucent, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to dislodge all the brown bits and evaporate most of the wine.
4.  Add back the sausage and also the rice, saffron liquid,  and red bell pepper.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a very low simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes
5.  Add the peas and shellfish, pressing the shellfish down into the rice and liquid.  Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the shellfish is cooked. It is ready to serve.  Gather round, spring open the cover and enjoy the lusty steam and aroma.  Serve with the lemon wedges.

PaellaVegetarianaFYI, you may also want to try this Paella Vegetariana.

As they say in Spain, ¡Buen Provecho!