An Uncomplicated Version of Paella

June 29, 2015



This isn't really a paella that anyone in Valencia would recognize as real, but it certainly made a festive Sunday night dinner.  The tumble of flavors – saffron, chorizo, pimentos – with that wonderfully fat and slightly chewy rice is absolutely irresistible.  And although this is a protein-heavy meal, if you eliminate the shrimp, it's not all that expensive. Next time I'm going to try it without,  just for science. 

Cheater's Paella

2 1/2  cups homemade chicken stock
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 pound boneless chicken thighs
Salt, pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound chorizo, cut into 1/2" slices
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 whole jarred roasted peppers, diced
1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled
1 1/4  cups bomba rice (arborio or canaroli are acceptable substitutes)
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1/4 cup dry white wine,
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 pound littleneck clams, washed and purged
1 pound squid, bodies separated from tentacles and cut into 1 inch rings

Heat the stock with the saffron.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Set aside

Heat the oil in a large flat pan or paella pan and cook the onions, garlic and pimentos until they're fragrant, about 10 minutes.  Add the chorizo and cook, stirring every once in a while, another 10 minutes or so.  

Dry the chicken thighs, sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Push the onion/chorizo mixture aside and add the chicken to the the pan, turning occasionally, until it has lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.  

Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it well with the oil.  Toss in the wine and let it cook away.  Add the bay leaf.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add to the pan.  Simmer 10 minutes. 

Bury the shrimp, chicken, clams and squid in the rice, as well as you can (much of it will still be sitting on top), and bake, uncovered,  until the clams are open, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and if there is still liquid in the pan (bomba rice can be slow to absorb liquid), cook over medium heat for another 10 minutes or so.  

Cover and let stand for a few minutes before serving. 


Purging Clams

Add a tablespoon of sea salt (it must be sea salt) to 2 cups of water.  Add the clams and allow them to sit in the bowl, in the refrigerator, for a few hours.  Watch the clams stick out their necks – and then watch how much sand they secrete into the bottom of the bowl. 


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