This morning I took out a pack of two chicken breasts, a pound of shrimp and a cup of peas from the freezer. They defrosted in the sink throughout the day. If I had time to run to the store, I would've loved to have added some chorizo and red bell peppers. I also didn't have a traditional paella rice like a Bomba or Calasparra, just some long grain white rice. It would all have to do.
Paella is an old Spanish dish that originates in Valencia (Spain not Magic Mountain!). There are several versions of it, all tasty I'm sure. What I set out to make would probably make a true Spaniard gasp. Unauthentic as it was, my paella made my guests happy. That's good enough for me!
Chicken and Shrimp Paella
- 2 chicken breasts; rinsed in cold water and dried well with paper towels; cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 lb shrimp; shells removed and deveined; rinsed in cold water and dried well with paper towels
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- smoked paprika
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 3 Roma tomatoes; stems removed and trimmed; pulsed in the food processor into small chunks
- 2 tbsp chopped garlic
- 2 1/2 cups of white rice, rinsed and drained
- olive oil
- 1 cup of hot water
- large pinch of saffron threads
- 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cups of clam juice
- 1 cup of frozen peas, defrosted and brought to room temperature
- 1-2 tbsp minced parsley
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
Add another tablespoon of oil to a now empty pan. Add the onions, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic during the last minute.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Take the pan out of the oven and taste the rice. It should be al dente but if you feel it is still undercooked, cover the pan tightly with a lid or foil and let it sit for several minutes until the rice is cooked to your liking.