Thursday, January 28, 2010

Paella Show Down

Chicken Paella with Sausage and Olives
adapted from Ellie Krieger's So Easy
serves 4

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 oz. chorizo sausage, casing removed, chopped
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green olives
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of ground turmeric
small pinch of saffron threads

1. Preheat oven to 375. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or a medium-large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides (not necessarily cooked through), about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken and chorizo to a plate.
2. Add remaining oil to pan. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about one minute. Return chicken and chorizo to the pot and add broth, peas, rice, tomato, olives, salt, pepper, turmeric, and saffron. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.
3. Cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
We enjoyed the above recipe - it seemed to have more of a Mediterranean flare than Spanish. I think I may like Paula Dean's a little better.
Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Paella:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 chicken, cut legs, drumsticks and thighs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 large onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 pound Spanish style chorizo links, cut into slices on the bias
2 cups short-grain rice (recommended: Valencia or Arborio)
Pinch saffron threads
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
Lemon wedges, for service

Heat a paella pan or very large, shallow skillet or pot, preferably with 2 handles over high heat.
Cook's note: A large cast iron skillet would work here.
Pour in the olive oil and let it heat up. Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper and paprika. Sear in the olive oil until browned all over. Transfer to a plate with tongs.
Lower the heat to medium and saute the onions and bell pepper until softened. Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and chorizo. Bring the liquid to a boil and then stir in the rice and saffron. Add the browned chicken pieces. The rice should be completely covered with liquid. Cook the paella without stirring for 20 minutes. When the liquid has all been absorbed, pour the peas over the top of the pot, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a kitchen towel. Let stand 5 minutes and then serve with lemon wedges.
I want to try Michael Chiarello's Spanish Style Paella as well as his Paella Italiana next. Paella is such a great comfort food.

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