After making the Rosé sangria a couple weeks ago, I was feeling very nostalgic of the time I spent in Spain a couple years ago. Hands down, one of my favorite meals of our entire trip was the paella from the restaurant 7 Portes. They have an extensive menu of paellas, from “Americanized” shrimp and chicken paella to black paella, which is died with squid ink. At that time I wasn’t as adventurous an eater, so I stuck with the shrimp and chicken paella (typical American).
This trip down memory lane inspired me to make my very own paella. While I have made paella before (a long time ago), it is a little bit out of my comfort zone. We rarely (or never) cook any Spanish foods. Which is a darn shame because there are so many goods ones!
- Jamon and melon
Ok, so flan isn’t really my jam. But I am all about some jamon (basically prosciutto) and melon.
Okay, back to the paella! If you have never had paella before, think of it like a Spanish version of jambalaya. It’s not quite as spicy, but it’s filled with seafood, meat, sausage, and all sorts of flavors and spices.
I won’t bore you with the details of the cooking process. Mainly because I didn’t take any pictures of the cooking process. Whoops! Blame my Small Group who likes to show up on time to things! Geez, don’t they know I am always running late and want to take pictures of my food? Oh, that’s right, no they don’t.
But the key to a delicious paella is the safron, which I like to steep in the chicken stock while it warms up. And the paprika, which is the main spice in this dish. Both are very subtle flavors, but they make this rice dish so rich and delicious.
There is actually one other key to paella, and it is the type of rice you use. You can’t use just any ol’ long grain rice that is sold in every rice aisle of every grocery store in America. You have to use a short or medium grain rice (preferably medium grain) like an arborio or risotto style rice. I just picked up a bag that said “medium grain rice”, which was about 300% cheaper the the aforementioned styles of rice, and worked perfectly!
So there you have it my very Americanized version of paella. So sorry if you are disappointed that I am not sharing a truly authentic Spanish paella recipe, but it’s just so hard to find rabbit and snails around here (yep, that’s actually what’s in a lot of traditional paella recipes). I almost guarantee that you will love this recipe anyways, or maybe even more. It is a prefect dish to make for a big family dinner. Serve it up with a nice glass of sangria, and you will have yourselves a party!
- 32 oz. chicken stock (one carton)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp safron threads
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (divided)
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- juice of 3 lemons
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 links of chorizo, sliced or crumbled
- 1 lb chicken thighs, butterflied
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 cups short grain rice
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 8 peeled and devained shrimp
- Combine broth, water, and safron in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat and cover.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 3 cloves of garlic, parsley, juice of 2 lemons, and olive oil. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or paella pan, saute chorizo until cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. In the same pan, saute chicken for 2-3 minutes on either side. Remove from pan.
- Add onion, bell pepper, and remaining 3 garlic cloves to the pan and saute until soft and onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes and paprika. Cook for about 5 minutes until tomatoes have reduced slightly.
- Add rice to pan and stir into tomato mixture. Cook for one minute, then stir in the parley blend and chicken stock. Add back in the chicken and chorizo. Bring to a low boil and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until most of the moisture has been absorbed by the rice.
- Place shrimp in the paella with the heads nestled into the rice, cover and cook for 5 minutes until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
- Squeeze the juice of the last lemon over the top of the paella. Take the pan off the heat and cover. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.