Do you have to eat this paella pantless? Of course not. Might it be a little more fun that way?
When G and I invited our friends for a Spanish almuerzo in honor of their upcoming move, my friend L misheard “paella” as “pantless” so all of our paella parties are now pantless, by default. But by all means, eat this paella wearing pants, shorts, or boxer briefs, just make sure you eat it because it’s Spanish Abuela good.
Leftovers are even more delicious after the flavors have been marinating. WARNING: This recipe did take us the better part of the afternoon to cook and I certainly would only do it for a Sunday night dinner or something of that nature when you have time to wait for the rice to soften.
Adapted from Paula Dean’s Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Paella
Served 4 extremely hungry people with about 2 servings worth of leftovers. Probably would have served more if we didn’t scarf it down, but believe me, you’ll want to.
Cracked black pepper
Saffron threads (this is the expensive part. The cheapest ones I found were at Whole Paycheck believe it or not.)
Dried bay leaves
Chicken thighs, drumsticks (we used 1 pack of each, which included 4 in a pack)
Chorizo, sliced into diagonal pieces (I would use about 2-4 links depending on how big they are and how much you like chorizo. Also, if you have a meat market near you, fresh is obviously better, but we used packaged)
1-3 cloves garlic (I like a LOT of garlic)
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen green peas (just enough to add some color. I frekin’ hate peas as much as I hate beans and they were good in this.)
2 cups Arborio rice (if you have trouble finding this, and I did, you can buy the pre-seasoned rice that already has saffron, though I would use the threads in addition. It comes in a yellow bag in the Mexican aisle.)
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. Heat olive oil over high heat in a paella-type pan. As you can see, we basically used a big wok, though I think a shallower pan is preferable. You’ll probably just need to use the biggest pan you have.
Once the oil is hot, drop in the chicken and chorizo and brown on all sides. The oil should turn a nice red color from the chorizo and chicken bits. Don’t worry about cooking through, necessarily, since they’ll be going back into the pot later. Remove with tongs and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and saute the garlic, onions and bell pepper pieces in the flavored oil until softened. We may or may not have added some white wine here to flavor the veggies and deglaze the pan. And because, we like wine.
Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and dried bay leaves. Bring the whole mixture to a boil then stir in your rice and saffron.
Place in the browned chicken and chorizo, making sure the rice is still completely covered with liquid. Simmer the paella without stirring for 20 minutes. (This took us WAY longer than 20 minutes and we ended up covering the pot to really get the rice to cook. It could have been the rice we used, but it still turned out great in the end, and cooking without a lid and without stirring for the first 20 minutes does give you the desired crispy rice bottom layer.)
When the liquid has all been absorbed, pour the peas over the top of the pot, cover the pot, and cook five minutes more.
Remove bay leaves before serving.
Wine pairing suggestion: 2001 Rioja
Around the Bay
In other news, a cable from the Golden Gate Bridge snapped off yesterday, hitting three cars in the process and shutting the bridge down completely while they check out the “structural integrity.” I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty scary the bridge cable just “snapped off.” Need to get my brother the engineer over there!
Coming Soon – Halloween sushi post, Guest post on preparing and cooking steak