Mixed Paella

Finished Paella. Isn't it pretty?
Ever since I tried paella in my college Spanish class I've wanted to make it. It had so much flavor and was different from anything I'd ever had before, but I sort of forgot about it over time. My interest was rekindled when I saw an episode of Tyler's Ultimate on which he made paella. I started looking up recipes online, including Tyler's, and combined them to come up with a version that I thought Glenn would actually eat. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish made with a combo of meat, seafood, rice, and veggies depending on the version. Classically it uses saffron, which of course is the most expensive spice in the world. I bought my tiny packet for around $15 for .06 ounces which hurt a bit but you don't need to use a lot and there really is nothing like it. They actually have a special shallow pan used just for making paella, but my 12 inch skillet worked pretty well.
The first version I had in class combined chicken, sausage, shrimp, bell peppers, and olives. Tyler's version, which you can find here, has all kinds of seafood. I'm not a big shrimp person and it's not like I have ready access to clams and lobster so my version has chicken, sausage, tomatoes, and peas. I actually made this a couple of weeks ago and while it turned out pretty good this is my tweaked version due to an issue with the type of chirizo I have available in this area. This makes a lot of food, but the leftovers are still delicious!

Ingredients
Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
Chirizo or some sort of sausage like a kielbasa (I used a smoked beef sausage this time), cut into bite sized pieces
Dried oregano
Smoked paprika
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of chopped garlic
1 onion, diced
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup of arborio rice
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3 cups warm chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Mix the oregano and paprika with some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and set aside for 1 to 2 minutes.
Heat the oil in a paella pan or wide shallow skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is beginning to smoke, add the chorizo (or other sausage) and cook until the oil is a vibrant red color (this does not happen if you don't use chirzo, so just crisp it up a bit). Remove the chorizo to a paper towel-lined platter, then add the chicken and brown all over. Remove the chicken to the platter with the chorizo.
Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium. Sauteing the garlic and onion in the oil that remains in the pan for 7 to 10 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the tomatoes and cook it all down until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Season with salt and pepper. Combine saffron with 3 cups warm water or stock and let steep for a few minutes. Add the saffron water (or stock) to the tomato mixture. Fold the rice into the tomato mixture, stirring to coat the grains. Add the reserved chicken and chorizo. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Simmering away!
Give the paella a couple of good stirs, then just let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes. Scatter the peas on top and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, until the paella looks fluffy and moist. Then let it rest off the heat for 5 minutes. The rice may get nice and toasted on the bottom of the pan - don't worry, it's supposed to!

*NOTE* The chirizo available to me locally is not the kind I want to use. Instead of being able to cut it into chunks it is the kind that is more like bulk sausage. While the flavor was good, it just wasn't what I was going for and it was so spicy that Glenn didn't enjoy it.
I think what I love about this dish is that it really is mix-and-match depending on your tastes. You can use the same basic method and make it lots of different ways - I've seen recipes for ones with beans, different types of greens, all kinds of meats or seafood. It also doesn't make an enormous amount of dishes or take hours to prepare. I also like dishes that have your meat, starch, and veggies all in one. Glenn and I are both more likely to eat veggies that way!

A whole lot of flavor in one bowl!

Comments

R&A Rog said…
Thanks so much for the recipe and the pics. I can't wait to give it a try!! I love the detail you put into blogging about it. You are a pro!!
Anonymous said…
Sounds so good!!I will have to try it-with a little less "hot"
I made this last week and Kyle loved it! I have been wanting to try one for so long. I think next time I will do some shrimp (Kyle loves shrimp) and some seafood broth as well. The flavor is wonderful. Thank you for the delicious and easy recipe

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