Sunday, 27 March 2011

Spanish Night: Chorizo & Chicken Paella

Though neither Steph or I have actually been to Spain (soon to change!) we decided to have Spanish night. We started out with a Paella (pronounced Pie-eh-ah - like tortilla!). Paella is a traditional Spanish dish originating from Valencia which consists of rice, vegetables and a mix of meats or seafood. Seafood is usually a typical addition to paella however we’re not big seafood people so we made ours with just chicken and chorizo sausage.

Our Ingredients:

I chose eco trail wine because it was Earth Hour (which we failed at since we started cooking at 7:30pm but I biked to get all these ingredients okay?). The saffron was by far the most expensive ingredient at about $10 for maybe two tablespoons. I could not believe this but figured it would make the paella more traditional.

A few threads of saffron:

Wikipedia describes saffron as having a “iodoform or hay-like fragrance”. Are you kidding me? Why would I want my dinner to taste like a hospital and/or barn?? I put worries of livestock aside though and added the saffron to the broth like a good blind-recipe-follower. In the end I really couldn’t taste a difference. I would forgo the saffron if you’re on any kind of budget.  Why, pray tell, is saffron the most expensive spice in the world?!

After steeping the broth with saffron and browning the chicken you saute the onion, pepper, garlic and tomato paste. Once the onions are translucent add the rice and saute for a few minutes then add a glass of white wine - prepare for a wonderful swoosh sound and puff of fragrant winey steam. This is my favourite part of cooking risotto.

After a few minutes the rice will have absorbed some of the wine and you can add the saffron-infused broth, sliced chorizo, chicken and paprika (add some chili powder if you want more spice). I added two cups of broth - probably a bit too much since the rice was a bit overdone after 20 minutes. 

I was pretty surprised it was ready after 20 minutes and 2 cups of broth since risotto takes at least 30 minutes and four cups of broth to form any semblance of tenderness. I suppose since you bring it to a boil before simmering it’s ready faster?

And voila! (I forgot the cilantro! whoops).

Chicken and Chorizo Paella Recipe

  • 1.75 cups broth (half a vegetable boullion cube + boiling water)

  • Dash of salt

  • 3 Chicken Breasts, cubed

  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil

  • 1 Onion, chopped

  • 2 Bell Pepper, chopped

  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced

  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste

  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice (or any starchy short-grained rice)

  • 1 Cup White Wine

  • 3-4 Chorizo sausages

  • Pinch of paprika and chili powder

  • Handful of chopped cilantro or fresh rosemary

  1. Mix the boullion cube with around 2 cups of boiling water. Set aside.

  2. In large skillet or pot, heat half of the oil over medium heat (ensure you condition - heat up - the pan before adding the chicken or the chicken will stick!); seal the chicken (all sides should be white instead of pink). Transfer to plate.

  3. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic until the onion is translucent then stir in the tomato paste. (Add any other veggies you want at this point too!).

  4. Stir in the rice and sauté for a few minutes then add the wine and simmer for a few minutes.

  5. Add all the remaining ingredients (including the chicken) except the cilantro (rosemary would be okay to add now though because it’s a lot more sturdy whereas the cilantro will disintegrate). Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes (like you’re making rice… because you are!). 

  6. Stir in the cilantro. Cover and let stand for 3-5 minutes.

  7. Serve hot with a spring of cilantro or rosemary and Spanish wine!

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