Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chicken Paella


Lately, I've been trying to get over my anti-chicken bias. I like to roast a nice chicken, but I become deeply unenthusiastic when the carcass gets broken down any further. I never order chicken in restaurants, or check the chicken option on those little reply cards for weddings and banquets. This is totally unfair to the humble bird, which can be a very delicious and non-utilitarian foodstuff.


This is a variation on another paella I posted long ago--tweaked to accommodate ToastMom's shellfish allergy and shopping schedule that didn't permit live mussel purchasing. It is perhaps a closer kin to the simple, luscious tomato paella posted more recently. But, in the spirit of pluralism, I'll give you this one too, and you can decide.

In general, though, the paella trick is a useful one. The big secret: It's essentially a classier, snazzier, and much tastier version of the rice-based casseroles beloved of Midwestern moms. It seems like a lot of steps, but once you know how to build a paella, you can adapt it to many purposes.

***
Chicken Paella

In a very large skillet with tight-fitting top, warm:
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Add and brown on all sides:
1-2 pounds chicken thighs, or parts from a whole cut up chicken, with bone in and skin on

Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Wipe out pan and warm:
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Add and cook until fat renders a little, about 2 minutes:
1/4 - 1/2 pound chorizo sausage, the dried kind is best cut into 1/2 inch dice, but you can crumble in the kind from the refrigerator case, too.

Add, and saute until soft:
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced

Add and cook until softened, about 5 minutes:
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

Add and stir until well coated in oil:
2 cups long grain rice

Pour in and bring to a boil over medium-high heat:
4 cups chicken brothwhite wine, or water

Then add:
1/2-3/4 teaspoon saffron or ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch black pepper

Arrange chicken pieces on top of the rice, put on the lid, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed, chicken is cooked through, and the rice is soft and beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Toss in:
1/2 cup frozen peas

Cook for 5 more minutes until peas are no longer frozen. (NOTE: A good trick is to thaw the peas in warm running water before adding them.) Turn off heat and let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.  

Serve up in the pan and let people dig out steaming bowlfuls for themselves.

23 comments:

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Partybluprints.com said...

Hi,

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sampada said...

This sounds so delicious..all you have to do it step outside for some of the ingredients..right away Im gonna get ingredients from www.myethnicworld.com and prepare it.

Katy said...

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John said...

Wow!
It looks so delicious
Thank for sharing
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Raised garden beds said...

What a great recipe. I would love to learn how to cook chicken paella. I can't wait to try this delicious recipe.

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