Friday Night Paella
A busy personal chef week for me (2 catering gigs and a regular client cookdate) meant we had repeats of family favorite dishes -- Chicken Enchiladas, Pulled Pork, and grilled chicken. I finally got back to my own kitchen and made a new dish for the family. I found some recipes for an easy dish and enlisted the help of No Thank You Boy when dinner time rolled around. Friday Night Paella was the main attraction I served when my Dad and Step Mom came for a 2-day visit. With a softball tournament in town for My Oldest and Middle One, I needed a quick meal to prepare because I spent the previous 2 days shopping, chopping and cooking for a 70 person graduation party.
I had most the ingredients on hand for my Friday Night Paella. I did need a trip to the grocery store for a couple ingredients. One item to pick up was a bag of mussels. My Middle One has recently developed a love of mussels, and I knew that is one thing she would eat when faced with a bowl full of yellow rice, peas, grape tomatoes, shrimp, and chorizo. I picked up a 2 pound bag on Thursday thinking I would be safe to cook them up on Friday. Big mistake. All of my mollusk friends perished overnight and left a nice stench in my frig. Note to self: scratch the mussels -- add more shrimp. Saffron was also on my grocery list. After searching the spice shelves at my local Shoprite, none was to be found. Crap!! I subbed tumeric for its yellow color-adding feature, but will put saffron on my next Penzey's order.
Friday Night Paella is a one pot meal that basically cooks itself. No Thank You Boy served as my sous chef; lots of stirring and slicing and dicing for him on this night. He wasn't convinced that the 4 cups of liquid in the dish were going to be soaked up by the rice. The entree was on the table in about 40 minutes. An added bonus was that The Husband had only one pot to wash and a nice sized container of leftovers.
The reviews came rolling in. "I will come to this restaurant anytime," commented my Step Mom. "Needs more spice," (what else is new?!) said The Husband. A few shakes of Frank's Red Hot Sauce and he was happy. "It's good, but not one of my favorites," offered No Thank You Boy who basically cleaned his plate. "Where are the mussels?" questioned My Middle One. I'll have to get her nose checked at her next doctor visit since she obviously did not smell the dead shellfish lingering in the refrigerator.
I thought this was a great dish that can be adapted to many tastes. I will add more fish in the future like clams, live mussels, scallops, and halibut. Basically anything that looks good at the fish market can go into the paella.
Next time you need a meal to impress with little effort on your part, try Friday Night Paella.
Friday Night Paella
adapted from Cooking Light, June, 2008
1 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound chorizo, sliced thin
2 chicken breasts, sliced thin - 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups vadalia onions, chopped
1 orange or red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups uncooked rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 (8 ounce) bottles clam juice
1 package grape tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 pound large shrimp, peeled with tails on
In a small bowl, combine wine and tumeric. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and chorizo and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Cook until chicken is cooked and chorizo starts to get crisp. Remove from pot. Add onion and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in paprika, salt and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Return chicken and chorizo to pot and add wine mixture, rice, broth, and clam juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the grape tomatoes, peas and shrimp. Cover and cook about another 5 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.
Serve in large bowls with crusty bread and a romaine and Parmesan salad with olive oil vinaigrette.