A few months’ back, I had taken an interest in making paella. Had never tried it, and figured I would need a paella pan in order to “properly” make paella. (That and I don’t regularly purchase what I see in a lot of paella dishes…clams, mussels, etc. Not that I don’t like to eat them, I do, they’re just one of those things that you pretty much have to make on the same day that you purchase them. That, and around here in Dallas, they’re not exactly “cheap”.) Well, I added the paella pan (also called a paellera) to the “wish” list. Lucky me, I recieved a paellera for my birthday! (Thanks Mom and Dad!) Alas, the holidays got the best of my time, and so this dish is only now being made.
This is only one version of many. I read through several recipes before concocting my own. It is a blend of a Tyler Florence recipe and a version Hosea Rosenberg did on Top Chef a few weeks ago. I have seen a lot of chicken paellas with bone-in chicken thighs (I think I might try that next time). This one uses cut-up boneless, skinless chicken thighs, just because that is what I had on hand. Also, the frozen shrimp do quite nicely here (and fit into my budget!). But feel free to add other items as you wish…I would think clams or mussels would be quite yummy. I’ve even seen some with rabbit, snails, or even lobster! As for the chorizo, use Spanish chorizo, not the Mexican chorizo. Spanish chorizo is a cured, smoked sausage and is made of pork, smoked paprika, and salt. (Mine had garlic too, yummy!) Mexican chorizo, on the other hand, is fresh pork , usually, and has chiles and vinegar as ingredients. The Spanish chorizo might be a bit difficult to find. I found mine at Cost Plus/World Market. Here is a link to igourmet.com, who also sells it. http://www.igourmet.com/chorizo.asp If you choose, you can omit the chorizo as well. I just find it adds another dimension of flavor.
2 chicken thighs, diced medium
1 t sweet paprika or smoked paprika
½ t dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1/3 c olive oil
2 Spanish chorizo sausages (3-4 oz), sliced into thin rings
½ yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch parsley, chopped, 1/3 c reserved for garnish
3 c chicken stock
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, sliced
½ t saffron threads
1 ½ c short grain rice (such as Bomba rice. Arborio or risotto rice will also work)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Season chicken with paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper. Heat paellera (or a shallow, large frying pan) to medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Brown chicken and chorizo. Remove and reserve, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.
Sauté onions, garlic, and parsley in pan for 2-3 minutes. Fold in rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in chicken stock, and simmer 10 minutes, gently moving around the pan so the rice cooks evenly. Add chicken, chorizo and saffron. Cook another 5 minutes, and add bell pepper and shrimp, tucking it into the rice. The shrimp will take about 5 minutes to cook. Give paella a good shake, and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 15-20 minutes. When the paella is cooked, and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn up the heat for about 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect. (the ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat)
Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.