Paella is one of those dishes that looks a lot harder to make than it actually is. I love the variety of flavours and textures in this dish and I enjoy making it….and eating it. The traditional recipe calls for saffron, which I can’t find in a regular bulk store. I imagine I’d have to go to a specialty food store or Indian food store, as some websites suggest. I use turmeric as a substitute, which I’ve read is not comparable in taste to saffron at all. I enjoy this recipe with turmeric anyway and if I ever come across saffron, I will give it a shot. Apparently saffron is quite expensive as well. I’m not sure if 1/4 tsp of saffron will break the bank, but you never know.
Ingredients – Serves 4
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp turmeric (or saffron)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 chorizo sausages, thinly sliced
3 boneless chicken breasts
½ large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and cut into julienne
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ small red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley
½ tbsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 cups spanish short grain rice
12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
12 mussels, cleaned
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the turmeric, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.
3. In a ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over med heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Increase the heat to med-high, add the chicken, and cook, turning until it is golden brown but not cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
4. Add the fennel, bell pepper, onion, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes, or until the fennel is slightly softened. Add half the tomatoes and half the parsley. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in paprika.
5. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains well. Cook the rice 2 minutes. Return the chicken and sausage to the pan. Pour in hot broth and bring mixture to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is no longer soupy but still has liquid. Add the shrimp and the remaining tomatoes and top with mussels.
6. Cover the pan with foil. Transfer to the oven and cook until the rice is almost al dente, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cover tightly with the foil. Let the paella rest 15 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked.
Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.