Chicken, Chorizo & Shrimp Paella

Monday, July 19th, 2010 | click here to comment

I've been getting bored of having the same thing for dinner again and again, so lately I've been trying to think out of the box and try new things.  One of my self-imposed challenges, was taking on Paella, which I've avoided like the plague for years.  Paella has always seemed like something too difficult and cumbersome to take on, so I've never tried and was supremely ignorant on how to make it or what even went into it.  When I finally decided to make Paella, I found a variety of recipes, no two ever exactly alike, and yet all seemed quite easy to prepare.

chicken frying in the oil

I'm not a huge seafood fan, so I knew that I only wanted to have chicken, chorizo and shrimp.  I searched high and low for recipes and finally decided on a Tyler Florence recipe(of all recipes!) from the Food Network website.  It had all of the ingredients that I wanted in my Paella and good reviews, so I figured why not.

beautiful meat mountain (fried chicken and chorizo)

The whole process was actually pretty easy.  First you marinate your chicken thighs in some spices, I did my standard garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and oregano with a touch of paprika.  While that's getting happy, you saute some chorizo pieces in olive oil.  Any dry chorizo will work well, but if you can get your hands on good dry Spanish chorizo, go for it!  When it's browned, you take it out and fry up your chicken pieces and then move the chicken to a paper towel with your chorizo.  Take a few moments to reflect upon your beautifully browned meat mountain and then go back to your frying pan and saute onions, garlic, and parsley.

hand-crushed tomatoes, and other veggies getting happy

You then add in your hand-crushed tomatoes, and rice and let that cook for a bit.  Then in goes the meat and saffron, yum!  If you're adding any seafood, this is when you would do it.  We added shrimp, but honestly I would forgo the shrimp next time and add more chicken and chorizo.  You let that cook for a good 15 minutes.

rice, chicken and water/broth simmering away

When that's done, you add the thawed frozen peas on top and cook for 5 minutes without stirring.  The peas will cook from the steam and the heat from the rice. Now this is the part where I messed up, I guess I had too much wine while preparing my meal because I didn't notice that it said to turn the heat up at the end to get that nice toasted bottom on the rice.  I'm definitely making note of that for next time though!

peas cooking as if by magic!

That's really all there is to paella, easy right?  Well, kind of,  you want to make sure you have the right rice and the right pan.  I used arborio rice because I couldn't find any Spanish short or medium grain rice at my local stores.  The arborio worked out fine for me and I'd use it again in a pinch.  This really great article on paella goes into more detailon the type of rice and pan to use.  They suggest not using a cast iron pan because it heats too quickly.  I used a regular stainless steel skillet and it did the job just fine. I've included the full recipe below with notes.  Give it a try and tell me what you think!

The Ultimate Paella - Tyler Florence

Ingredients

  • Spice Mix for chicken, recipe follows
  • 1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut into 10 pieces (I used boneless chicken thighs)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced (I used Goya chorizo)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced (not called for, but I used it anyway)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
  • 4 cups short grain Spanish rice (I used Italian Arborio risotto rice)
  • 6 cups water, warm (I used 3 cups of chicken stock and 3 cups of water)
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed (omitted)
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined (I used 6 large shrimp)
  • 2 lobster tails (omitted)
  • 1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Special equipment:

  • Large paella pan or wide shallow skillet

Directions

Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve. In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it's perfect. Cook's note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon wedges.

Spice Mix for chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken; marinate for 1 hour, covered

so good!!


 

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