Paella

I will admit to being a bit apprehensive about attempting paella.  This dish is so rich in tradition and is thought of by many as the national dish of Spain for goodness sakes.  With the list of expensive ingredients (and I did an abridged version) I did not want to have the creation from hell (yes this has happened in my kitchen before) on my hands.  I can honestly say that my anxieties were for not.  The dish really comes together on its own- all the cook really does is add the ingredients at various stages and watch it happen.  The flavor profile is fantastic- sweet peas and creamy rice, acidic tomatoes, savory saffron.  This one is definitely worth your time.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1 Spanish chorizo

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Spanish onion, diced

1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed

1 cup Spanish rice, short to medium grain

1 teaspoon saffron threads

3 cups water, warm

12-16 large shrimp, peeled

1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed

Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:

  • Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry, then cut into cubes
  • Mix the oregano and paprika with salt and pepper in a small bowl
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the pieces of chicken; marinate for 30 minutes or more
  • Heat the olive oil in a paella pan or wide skillet over a medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan, and brown
  • Add the chorizo and continue to for 5 minutes (you will see the sausage begin to brown)
  • Remove the chicken and sausage to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil

  • Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium
  • Make a sofrito by sauteing the garlic, onion, and tomatoes until the mixture caramelizes a bit; season with salt & pepper

  • Add the rice, stirring to coat the grains

  • Stir the saffron into the rice. Pour in the water and simmer for 10 minutes (do not cover)
  • Add the reserved chicken and chorizo. Give the paella a couple of good stirs to coat all of the pieces and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes
  • Scatter the peas & shrimp on top and continue to cook for 5 minutes

  • Allow to rest, off of heat for 5 minutes

  • Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges

This recipe was adapted from one by Tyler Florence.  I made my version a bit lighter and less heavy on the seafood.

J