What is everyone doing to beat the heat these days? We’ve been cooking and hanging out on decks in order to refrain from turning on our oven. And we have also been soaking up all the sun with some camping and biking! I adore this heat; but I realize that not everyone shares this affections for nearly 30 degree weather. I also realize that the recipe I’m sharing today isn’t really a great one to cook when the sun’s a-blazing; unless of course you’re up for cooking this the traditional Spanish way over an open fire, so as to not heat up your home by turning on the stove. If you try that out, please share some stories – and photos!
I discovered Paella a number of years ago when Kyle and I were first dating, and fell in love with the smoky chorizo, sweet saffron and nutty rice…it just so happened to be around the time when I was falling in love with my main man! Which probably explains why this dish is so dear to my heart. I’ve eaten ones in restaurants that are solely filled with fresh seafood or ones mixed with various meats and shrimp, and enjoyed every last bite. I’ve heard of those that contain rabbit, or even no meat at all – but I have yet to try these versions. Since we are lacking in the fresh shell-fish department up here in the north, I’ve always made this mixed Paella that contains juicy bone-in chicken thighs, spicy chorizo, and sweet, plump shrimp.
So when you’re up for turning on the oven again, I urge you to try this. It may appear daunting at first – with what looks like a long ingredient list and multiple steps – but you only use one pot to cook the meal; and most of the time you are simply letting the meat or rice cook, so you can enjoy the company of your family and friends that you are sharing this with.
Chicken, Shrimp & Chorizo Paella
Paella is a rice dish that hails from Spain and shares some similarities with Biryani, Jambalaya, or Pilaf. But what makes it really special (and authentic) is the crispy, toasted rice on the bottom called socarrat. This is the key to making a truly spectaular Paella; you may just have to remind some dinner guests that no, it’s not burnt, and to urge them to try the best part of the dish.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp saffron
3 cups water or chicken stock
1 spicy chorizo link,cut into 1/4″ slices
6 bone-in chicken thighs
1 tsp hot, smoked paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 lb raw jumbo shrimp, deveined – it’s your choice whether you want to peel them
1 Tbsp flat leaf Italian parsley
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
Over medium-high, heat the oil in a large heavy-bottom paella pan, braiser, or saute pan – I’m not kidding about large…grab the biggest one you own. Heat 1/2 cup of the water/stock and “steep” it with the saffron – set aside. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with the paprika, oregano, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper.
Saute the chorizo in the pan for 3-5 minutes – or until starting to turn the oil orange and crisp up. With a slotted spoon, remove the chorizo to plate/bowl, while leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. Add the chicken to the pan and brown for 8-10 minutes, flipping once. Remove the chicken to the same dish as the chorizo.
Reduce the heat to medium and add a bit more oil if necessary (but if there is still lots in the pan, it is not necessary); add the onion, garlic, and 1 tsp of salt to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the drained tomatoes and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add the rice to the pan and toast in the oil for 1-2 minutes. Add the 3 cups of the water/stock to the pan (which includes the 1/2 cup of “steeped” saffron stock). Bring to a boil. Add the chicken and chorizo back into the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the shrimp to the pan – tucking it in amongst the chicken and rice. Place the lid back on the pan, and continue to simmer the rice for an additional 15 minutes. After this time, remove the lid from the pan and crank up the heat to medium-high. Toast the bottom of the rice for 5 minutes, then remove the pan to the table. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, where the remaining juices will soak up into the meat, seafood, and rice. Garnish the dish with the parsley and lemon wedges.
Serves 4 – 6.