Sunday, January 27, 2013

Paella Mixta

I really like paella, but saffron is kind of ridiculous. This can be a saffron-optional paella. I'm sure saffron is lovely and makes things a nice color, but I've never been able to bring myself to spend so much on it. 

This Wednesday is my grandpa's 87th birthday, so we had them over for dinner on Sunday afternoon. (Early enough that it wouldn't interfere with Downton Abbey, of course - not because they are early bird special-type elderly people. They stay up way later than I usually do.)

Adapted from Saveur

This makes enough for about 8-10 people, probably more, so halve if necessary.

(optional) 30 threads saffron, crushed (1⁄2 tsp.)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2" pieces
10+ large shrimp, peeled and deveined 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 - 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. pre-cooked chorizo or kielbasa, cut into 1⁄4"-thick coins
1 tbsp. paprika, smoked if you have it

1 tsp turmeric (to help make it more yellow if you're not using saffron)
1-2 bell peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 dried bay leaves
3 medium tomatoes, minced (or canned, stewed - it's wintertime)
1 small onion, minced

1 carrot, sliced
7 cups chicken broth
2 1⁄2 cups rice, short grain if you have it
8 oz. fresh or frozen peas

If you're using saffron, put it and 1⁄4 cup hot water in a small bowl; let sit for 15 minutes.

Heat oil in a LARGE skillet (as big as you've got). Season the chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper and start frying it up in the skillet. After about five minutes, remove the shrimp and add in the sliced bell pepper and carrot. Add paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, and onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add reserved saffron mixture (if you're using it) and broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.  

Sprinkle in rice, distribute evenly with a spoon, and add peas. Cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, 10–12 minutes. If your pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes so different parts are over the heat and the rice cooks evenly. 

Reduce heat to low, add reserved shrimp, and cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente, 5–10 minutes more. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Evil beggar knows Grandpa is the weak link

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