Monday, December 18, 2006

Chicken Seafood Paella

Copyright 2006 by Cooking With The Single Guy

Ingredients:
3 Chicken thighs (6 oz.)
1 Chorizo sausage (2 oz.), cubed
1 red bellpepper, roasted and sliced
5 to 6 live mussels
3 shrimp
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup Spanish rice (Bomba)
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 T sofrito* or tomato paste
2 t smoked paprika
1 t saffron
1 clove garlic
olive oil

In an 11-inch paella pan, warm some olive oil and brown chicken thighs for about 2 minutes on each side along with sausages over medium high heat. Remove from pan and set aside.

In paella pan, add onion and garlic and cook over medium high heat until onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Then add rice, broth, saffron, tomato paste and paprika, mixing all the ingredients. But then do not mix the rice anymore. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about five minutes. Then nestle chicken pieces and sausages into the rice, continue cooking for about 15 minutes or until rice looks plump and broth is almost gone. About 10 minutes after you added the chicken, add the mussels, shrimp (skin peeled and deveined), peas and roasted bell pepper slices in an arrangement and finish cooking.

When done, garnish with lemon wedges and parsley and bring paella pan to the dinner table and serve.

* Sofrito is condensed vegetable base made typically from onions, carrots and tomatoes. This can take a lot of work and time, so for the single people out there, I feel the paella is fine without this particular labor-intensive ingredient. Instead, you can substitute with tomato paste.
It might not be traditional, but it'll still be tasty.

Makes three servings.

Serve with Spanish roja red wine.

TIPS: When cooking paella, some Spanish working men would cover their paella pan with newspaper to retain the heat to help cook the rice. I use a piece of foil punched into a tent shape that I place over my pan. Also, one of the signature signs of good paella is the crusty bottom. To create this, you cook until all the liquid is evaporated or you can turn your heat to high near the end to help create some crusty bottom.

SEAFOOD: When you add the mussels, place the hinge closest to the heat to help it open up. Do not eat any mussels that do not properly open on its own. For the shrimp, nestle it into the rice to help the heat from the rice cook the shrimp.

BONE IN OR OUT?: For the chicken thighs, I keep it simple and place the three thighs around the paella pan, and then when ready to eat I can serve one thigh to each person. (Which is why this recipe serves three.) But most recipes will tell you to cut your thighs into cubes without the bone, making it faster to cook your chicken. You can choose this route if you feel you want to ensure your chicken is cooked and that it's easier for your guests to eat. You can adjust your cooking time -- longer when cooking thighs with bone, and a bit shorter when cooking chicken cubes.

2 comments:

Seth said...

I like my paella too, I use my lifetime supply of saffron that I got from a San Fran importer :) I also make some very non-traditional versions from Delia Smith, a brit (!) cookbook author. One version is more or less spanish-like with chicken and chorizo, but adds slices of whole orange and black olives. Another is faux moroccan with cumin, coriander, green olives and sliced whole lemons.

Last week you mentioned mango garlic noodles. I don't suppose you have tried to recreate the dish at home, have you? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Chef Ben said...

Nice suggestions Seth! I especially like the idea of oranges and black olives, again, two of my favorite ingredients. With blood orange season, that might be a nice twist to a paella dish.

I'm still seeing tons of mangoes at my local Safeway. So who knows, maybe during the holiday break I might work on a simple garlic mango noodle dish. No promises. ;-)