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Paella

February 18, 2017

I just finished reading The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn for a book club. I’ve been inspired (again) to work more on using things up in the kitchen. One of the ways she recommends doing that is by making paella. I didn’t realize that it was a good vehicle for using things up, but with all the random things in my freezer, I decided to give it a try and I really liked it!

I didn’t have shrimp, chicken legs/thighs, spanish chorizo, artichokes, pimento, or mussels. I did have the recipe “essentials” and also a few things to use up: 4 cooked chicken wings from roast chickens, 4 oz. Mexican chorizo, 5 scallops, 2 filets of home-smoked bass. Never would have thought to combine all those, but it worked! I’m including the recipe as shared in the book, but it’s pretty flexible so use what you have or what you like! I’ll probably never make the recipe exactly as written, but I’ll definitely make it in some form again.

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Shrimp-Flavored Stock:

1 lb medium shrimp, deveined, shells reserved

1 quart chicken stock

 

Seasoned Chicken:

6 chicken legs and/or thighs

coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp dried thyme

couple pinches cayenne

 

Basics:

2 Tbsp olive oil

8 oz chorizo, cut into bite sized pieces

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups Arborio, Bomba, or other short-grain rice (uncooked)

Pinch of saffron threads (about 1/4 tsp crushed)

 

To Finish: 

14 oz. can artichokes

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 oz. diced pimento

About 1 lb mussels, bearded and scrubbed

2-3 lemons, cut into wedges

Strips of green pepper (Apparently you are supposed to alternate bites of paella and green pepper. Mine was frozen so I didn’t get to try it this time)

Combine the shrimp shells and chicken stock in a pan and simmer until needed. Season the chicken pieces generously with the salt and other seasonings.

Heat a 12 to 15-inch pan (I used a 12-inch carbon steel frying pan, and it all just barely fit) over medium-high heat or a hot grill. Add the oil and saute the chorizo until it is partially cooked, about 5 min. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it well, turning occasionally, for about 15 min. Remove the chorizo and chicken and set aside. Add the onion, green pepper and garlic and cook until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves and cook another 3 min. Strain the shrimp shells from the stock.

Add the rice to the vegetables and cook, stirring, for a couple minutes, until gently toasted. Add the strained stock, saffron, several cranks for black pepper and 3 pinches salt. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan.

Cover loosely with foil and adjust the heat to keep it at a bubbling simmer for about 25 min, until the rice is tender. (It can also be finished in a 450 degree oven.) If excess liquid remains, remove the foil and cook until it is absorbed. Scatter the artichokes, peas, and pimentos on top of the rice. Press the shrimp and mussels into the hot rice. Cover again until the seafood cooks through, about 8 to 10 min. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand (covered) for a few minutes before serving. Discard any mussels that are not open after cooking. Remove bay leaves. Serve with lemon wedges and strips of raw green pepper.

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(Recipe adapted slightly from The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn)

 

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