This is a simple yet flavorful paella. I was inspired to make this at home in the summer of 2010 after our trip to Barcelona where I tasted what was to me a truly excellent paella. It was seafood paella with jumbo shrimps and mussels. What a gustatory delight!
Below is a photo of the paella we had.
Alas, I do not live near the sea, so making paella using the freshest seafood is not always possible. Also, making a paella dish can be rather intimidating.
Nonetheless, I decided to make this favorite rice dish of mine with ingredients that are at hand. I did not include saffron threads because sometimes they are not readily available and they’re quite expensive too! Instead, I used paprika and turmeric to give both flavor and color to the rice. The result is wonderful! Now, I can just reminisce about Barcelona whenever I eat it.
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4 organic chicken thighs (skin on)
Salt and pepper
Flour for dusting (use alternative flour if you want it completely gluten-free)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp Spanish paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 ½ cups jasmine rice (uncooked)
3 cups chicken stock
2 plum tomatoes, petite diced
1 cup frozen peas
1-2 Red, yellow or orange sweet peppers, seeded and diced
4 oz Spanish Chorizo sausage, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then dust with flour.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep oven-proof pan or a Dutch oven and then fry the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken pieces to a baking tray and into the oven for about 20 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking in the oven, prepare the accompanying vegetables.
Using the same pan where the chicken was cooked, sauté the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the paprika and turmeric. Stir-fry just until aromatic, less than a minute. Add the uncooked rice and chicken stock and mix. Bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, turn off the heat. We will continue cooking it in the oven.
Get the chicken from the oven and place it in the pan with the rice and cook in the oven for about 15 mins. The rice should be almost dry at this point. Take the pan out of the oven, remove the chicken pieces to a plate, and then stir in the remaining ingredients except for the chorizo. Put the chicken back on top of the rice. Place the lid on the pan and then bring it back to the oven and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the rice has fully absorbed the stock. During the last few minutes, heat a little oil and fry the chorizos until brown and crispy. Keep warm.
Remove the pan from the oven and transfer its contents to a deep serving dish, placing the chicken on top. Spread the chorizos around. Serve with a wedge of lemon, if desired.
Note: You may add the chorizo with the other ingredients (bell peppers, tomato, etc.) and let it cook in the oven. However, it may become chewy though it does add more flavor to the rice.
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