Thursday, May 16, 2013

Paella

I pretty much lived on paella when I studied abroad in Spain during college. I found that it was one of very few Spanish dishes that didn't normally have cheese and wasn't fried. For the record, my favorite type of paella is seafood, but I had some chicken I needed to use up last night so I made a chicken/veggie version. This was my first attempt at homemade paella, and it went well!
Since I don't have a legit paella pan, I used a dutch oven. I think one of my frying pans is oven-safe, but I wasn't willing to risk it, and the dutch oven worked fabulously. Here are the ingredients I used:
-2 chicken breasts, cut up into small pieces
-1 can artichoke hearts
-1/2 cup diced tomato
-1/2 cup diced onion
-3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 cup arborio rice
-1 plus 1/2 cup vegetable stock
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1 bay leaf
-approx 1/4 tsp saffron strands (the key ingredient!)
-S&P, to taste
First I pre-heated the "main" oven to 350, then put the dutch oven over medium-high heat and sauteed the pepps, onions and garlic with about 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper.
Then I added the chopped chicken breast and kept stirring to cook it up slightly (it cooks up the rest of the way in the oven).
Added diced tomato and kept stirring over medium-high heat.
Added the artichoke hearts. (I drained the can before adding them).
Stirred a little more (with heat still on).
Then added the cup of rice and stirred it around for a few minutes.
Finally I added the white wine and veggie stock, plus the saffron (which in my mind is what enables me to call this dish "paella"). Saffron isn't cheap, but it is fairly reasonably priced at Trader Joe's. I almost dropped this little sucker when taking it out of the cupboard... that would have been a big mistake.
The saffron gave it a nice yellow color (plus the aroma that paella is famous for).
Finally I added a bay leaf to the whole thing, then popped the dutch oven in the 350 degree oven for about 13 minutes (when the rice was fully cooked).
Here it is after about 13 minutes in the oven:
Yum! Making this again with seafood SOON!

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