Monday, January 28, 2013

Easy Weeknight Paella

Paella is not really one of those dishes you're supposed to be able to whip up in under 30 minutes. When I was at culinary school, my first partner was this amazing classical guitarist who lived in New York but was originally from Spain. When we were assigned to make a large-scale meal to feed a crowd, she offered to make her rendition of paella. I remember how difficult it was to get the dish together as a team. Not only did we have to figure out how to work as a team but we had to put together a dish by following the lead of someone who was not yet a trained chef... and someone who was used to making this dish with her family's very specific traditions, local ingredients and equipment. All to say that the dish didn't really turn out as planned and I remember it being a little bit of a fiasco.

After flipping through one of my Spanish cookbooks that suggested making paella over an open fire using  rabbit, I stared at my non-stick pan and knew I would be going the easy route. My goal wasn't going to be incredible authenticity but rather comfort, fast. Here is my rendition!

Easy Weeknight Paella
Serves 4

Olive oil
knob of butter
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup long grain rice
Chicken stock
Pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp paprika
1 cup sliced chorizo
2 cups frozen shrimp, thawed and peeled
4 chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice

In pot over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. When butter start to foam, add onion and garlic. Cook until garlic and onion soften and turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add rice and toast, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in saffron and paprika.

Cook according to package instructions, replacing water with chicken stock. In the meantime, in pan on medium heat, add drizzle of olive oil. Add chorizo, cook until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes; set aside. Add chicken thighs, cook until just cooked though. Stir in peas and shrimp; cook until shrimp just turns pink. Add rice and reserved chorizo; stir until combined. Stir in lemon juice. Enjoy!


Jan @ Family Bites said...

This looks fantastic! I love paella and fortunately have all of the ingredients needed to make it for dinner later this week. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Chocolate Shavings said...

Jan @Family Bites : Let me know what you think! It's perfect for the gloomy weather we've been getting lately!

Anonymous said...

Looks fantastic,but I'm a spanish girl who live in Valencia and this is not a paella. In Spain there are a lot of "rices". Paella is rice, rabbit or/and chicken, green beans, garrofón (a tipe of great white bean), onion, saffron and stok. Rice and fish, shrimps, etc can be "arrós a banda", but not paella ;)

Chocolate Shavings said...

Vega: I've had different renditions of paella when traveling through Spain - my favourite combines gambas and mussels! As I mentioned, this is my quick-fix version for a weeknight meal - with saffron and seafood it still hits the spot!

Anonymous said...

Is a tipical spanish error use the name paella for any-rice with "things", but your rice is "more-a-banda", xdxdxd Really, paella is a the pan where you make the paella or the tipical valencian dish of rice cooked whit chicken-rabbit and green beans. In Valencia, when the people see rice and fish with the name "paella", the translation is "rice for tourists" (no-valencian people) :D

Anonymous said... I think that you can read it with google translate. ¡Qué aproveche! :D

Suzanne Perazzini said...

I remember a great road trip through Spain when we ate paella every lunchtime. We couldn't get enough of it. But we were in no condition to drive on after filling up with paella and a bottle of wine. It was straight to the beach. So our trip took quite a while.

Chocolate Shavings said...

Suzanne Perazzini: I can relate - its no wonder the Spanish have a 'siesta' time booked off in the afternoon!

Anna {Hidden Ponies} said...

I love your simplified version - perfect weeknight dinner!

Beth said...

No, I wouldn't have imagined that an "easy" version of paella would be this good. Yours looks great!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Beth: Thank you!

Jennifer Kendall said...

i love this idea so much! your weeknight paella looks like such a delicious dinner - it is definitely going on the menu this week!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Jenn Kendall: Let me know what you think!

Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies said...

Looks delicious! Love how you made something that takes so much time doable on a weekday!

scrambledhenfruit said...

I won a paella pan over a year ago, and have yet to make the paella because the recipes I found looked so intimidating. This looks much simpler and delicious as well! :)

Chocolate Shavings said...

scrambledhendruit: How big is your pan? This recipe is definitely an easy introduction to the dish - let me know what you think!

Jamie said...

Years and years ago, my husband decided he absolutely wanted me to make paella and bugged me until I did. It was pretty good, but it was complicated and too much work. I haven't made it since. But your version is perfect and looks so delicious! Maybe paella will be on our table again! Thanks!

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