Someday I’d like to eat my way through Spain. Authentic paella would definitely be on my list of must try foods as many of the paellas that I’ve ordered in restaurants have been fairly, well – meh.
Although it isn’t particularly authentic, my homemade Paella is one of Steve’s favourite dishes. That’s because it is filled with chicken, spicy sausage and seafood. Oh, and it includes saffron, which he loves. Since working toward a paleo diet I haven’t made paella for quite a while though. As a rice based dish it has been off the menu.
However, we’ve just returned from a multi-generational family vacation in Kauai. While away I decided that I wasn’t going to worry too much about what I ate or drank. Trying to accommodate 10 people’s dietary needs is just too much work. So, though I tried, I ate way too much carb.
If I needed proof that the carbs make a difference I got it – 3.5 lbs gained over 11 days! Holy bread Batman!
Arriving home on Saturday morning after flying all night (in incredibly uncomfortable airline seats) and feeling drained by the 4 hour time difference we dragged ourselves to the grocery store to stock up on some basics to get us through the weekend. Steve was really craving paella and since I was off the wagon anyway I conceded. It’s an easy recipe and it makes a ton so I knew I wouldn’t have to think about cooking for another few days.
Have you ever had a recipe that you have to refer back to over and over again even though you’ve made it a hundred times? This is one of those for me. I have no idea why as it is really pretty simple. Brown your meat, sweat some onions garlic and tomato, add rice to paella pan, nestle meat into rice.
Top with veg, pour hot broth and seasoning over all, finish in oven, add seafood at last few minutes. It isn’t complicated and it is a mystery to me that I don’t have it memorized.
Traditionally paella is made over a large burner in a wide pan but this oven version works for me. I’m betting it would work on the stovetop too. In fact, I’m not sure why I haven’t tried it that way. I also generally use basmati, though a creamier rice like arborio is traditional, and I am able to find spicy italian sausages more easily than a good chorizo so that is what I usually use.
After making this and remembering how much I like it, and how I often make it for a crowd, I am inspired to experiment with a cauliflower rice version. I suspect that one will need to be done on the stovetop. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime though, I’m going to enjoy one more day of food freedom and just dig in.
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
- 8 bone in skinless chicken thighs
- 3 spicy italian sausages
- 1 lb peeled raw shrimp
- 1 lb mussels, fresh or frozen ( I often use frozen green lipped mussels as they are bigger than the fresh ones available here)
- 1 C chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half (you can also used chopped tomatoes)
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2-3 red or yellow peppers
- 1.5 Cups rice (arborio or basmati both work well)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked or hot paprika (I use smoked)
- 1/2 tsp + pinch saffron threads
- Heat oven to 375°
- Heat a wide flat bottomed pan, add oil
- Add sausages whole and cook until done. Remove from pan and reserve in a bowl, keeping any juices that accumulate in the bowl.
- Add chicken thighs, in batches if necessary, and brown on all sides. Add to bowl with sausage.
- Add onion, tomato and garlic to pan and sauté until just soft. Reserve in a separate bowl
- Remove pan from heat
- Add a bit more oil if the pan seems very dry and coat all sides of the pan
- Place rice in pan and season with salt
- Cut sausages into generous chunks and nestle into the rice, spacing them out evenly
- Add chicken pieces to pan, nestling them into the rice between the sausages
- Cut zucchini and peppers into large pieces and place evenly over meat in pan
- Spread sautéed onion and tomato mixture over vegetables in pan
- In a separate pan, bring chicken broth, paprika and saffron to a boil. Pour evenly over your rice, meat and vegetable mixture
- Seal pan well with aluminum foil and place into oven
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Season shrimp with a little sea salt and a pinch of saffron. Add shrimp and mussels for approximately the last 10 minutes. Reseal pan and put back into oven until rice is finished and seafood is cooked through.
- This is a fairly adaptable recipe. Add more or less seafood or veg to your liking. Same with the rice. Feeding more people? Scale up the rice and broth (1C rice: 2 C broth)