Greetings from the North Pole! Yes, it sure does feel like I'll be spotting Santa any day now here in Jersey. With about 15 inches of snow outside my window since last week, dagger-size icicles hanging from my kitchen windows and temps dropping into the single digits, I'd say it's frickin' freezing here, friends!
And I'm not a fan.
Some people like the change of seasons. Ya know- a little heat here, some coolness there, then a blast of arctic air just to awaken the senses.... the people who admire that sort of variance. Well, that ain't me. I'm all about the hot. 80 and above, I'm good for life. In my thirty-something years of existence, I've watched the leaves change, built a snow fort or two, and have seen May flowers come from April showers......so I'm good with the seasonal thing. Now I just want summer. To be more clear- I want summer all the time.
So what does that have to do with Paella? Well for one, it's so damn cold here, I recently made this to hunker down with on a snowy night with the fireplace blazing. It was like a comfort food kind of craving I had. I wanted something hearty, fill-you-up, super rich in flavors. The kind of food you're thankful you wear elastic waist yoga pants all the time. This recipe fit that bill. And for two, there's not much more I love to do than cook when I'm snowed in. So check there too.
So I prepped, cooked and enjoyed this amazing dish while winter reared its harsh head in our direction. And while it didn't make the snow disappear or the thermometer rise to a more bikini friendly number, it sure did warm us up from the inside. I wish the same for you.....both the former and the ladder, ;) Enjoy.....
Adapted from: TastesBetterfromScratch
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic
8-10 slices cooked chorizo, roughly chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 TBS dry white wine, I used Pinot Grigio
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped, divided
1 C rice from a "Spanish Rice" box which comes with seasoning packet (you will need 1 TBS of that)
2 1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
1/4 C frozen peas
.25 lbs medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined, about 8
12-14 small clams (littleneck if you can purchase only 12-14, otherwise go with the smallest available)
4 oz calamari rings
Lemons, for garnish
In a large dutch oven or deep skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and chorizo. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often until onions are translucent.
Add chopped tomato, bay leaf, paprika, saffron and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for about 5-8 minutes.
Add wine and cook for 8-10 minutes.
Add chicken pieces, 1 TBS chopped parsley, rice and 1 TBS of the seasoning from box packet. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Pour the chicken broth slowly around the pan and shimmy the pan to get the rice into an even layer. Now- no more mixing!
Cook for about 20-25 minutes, uncovered. Then, nestle the shrimp, clams and calamari into the mixture. Sprinkle the peas atop and continue to cook for 5 minutes still uncovered and unstirred. Then, cover and cook and an additional 5-10 minutes or until clams have opened and liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5-10 minutes.
Open lid, squeeze lemon over and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
Discard any unopened clams and enjoy!