Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

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Growing up in a lively household where food was more than just sustenance, I have fond memories of dishes that brought us together, sparking laughter, stories, and the occasional debate over the best way to prepare a recipe. One of those beloved meals was Chicken and Chorizo Paella. This hearty Spanish dish, with its vibrant flavors and aromatic spices, always had a way of drawing everyone to the table.

I first encountered paella during a trip to Spain in my early twenties. Wandering through the bustling streets of Valencia, I stumbled upon a quaint, family-run eatery that served the most exquisite paella I had ever tasted. The medley of saffron-infused rice, succulent chicken, and spicy chorizo was unforgettable. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to recreate that magical experience in my own kitchen.

What I love most about Chicken and Chorizo Paella is its versatility. While traditional recipes call for specific ingredients, I’ve found that a few tweaks here and there can elevate the dish even further. For instance, adding a handful of quick-fried green beans on top gives it a delightful crunch and a pop of color. The blend of smoked paprika and saffron (if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand) creates a depth of flavor that’s truly mesmerizing.

Preparing paella is a labor of love, perfect for a weekend family gathering or a casual dinner party with friends. The process of cooking the rice to the perfect texture while ensuring the chicken remains juicy is almost therapeutic. Plus, the irresistible aroma that fills the house is guaranteed to make mouths water long before dinner is served.

This Chicken and Chorizo Paella recipe is a nod to those cherished memories and a testament to the joy of sharing good food with loved ones. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a kitchen novice, this dish is sure to impress and become a staple in your culinary repertoire.

Making Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Ingredients

  • 4 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (or bites of chicken breast)
  • 3 cured gluten-free chorizo sausages, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1½ cups Spanish rice
  • good pinch saffron threads (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary

Directions

  1. Divide the chicken thighs into halves or thirds, depending on their size. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large pan and brown the chicken, skin side down, until they are a deep golden color. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the sliced onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, thyme or rosemary, smoked paprika, chorizo pieces, and saffron if using. Stir frequently and cook for about 5 minutes. Add extra oil if the pan is dry.
  3. Mix in the crushed tomatoes and Spanish rice. Pour in the chicken stock and season well with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and its juices to the pan, ensuring they are nestled in. Lower the heat and cover the pan with foil.
  4. Allow the mixture to cook undisturbed for around 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked but still slightly firm. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Optional: To garnish, quickly fry some green beans in a bit of hot olive oil for about 2 minutes until they are lightly blistered. Sprinkle with salt and serve on top of the paella.

FAQs:

Can I use a different type of rice for the Chicken and Chorizo Paella?

While Spanish rice like calasparra or bomba is ideal due to its absorbent nature, you can substitute it with Arborio rice if necessary. However, this may slightly alter the texture and cooking time. Avoid using long-grain rice as it doesn’t absorb the flavors as well.

What can I use as a substitute for chorizo if I don’t have any on hand?

If you don’t have chorizo, you can use other cured sausages like andouille or kielbasa. However, keep in mind that the distinct smoky flavor of chorizo will be missing, so you might want to add a bit more smoked paprika to compensate.

Is it necessary to use saffron in the paella?

Saffron adds a unique flavor and a beautiful golden color to the paella, but it can be expensive and hard to find. If you don’t have saffron, you can still make a delicious paella without it. Some people substitute with turmeric for color, but it will not replicate the flavor of saffron.

How can I ensure the chicken thighs cook evenly?

To ensure even cooking, cut the chicken thighs into uniform pieces before seasoning and browning them. Additionally, make sure the chicken is placed skin side down in the hot oil and cooked until deeply golden before transferring it to a plate. This step helps in sealing the juices and achieving a consistent cook.

Can I prepare this paella in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the components of the paella in advance. Cook the chicken, sauté the vegetables and chorizo, and mix in the tomatoes and rice. When ready to serve, add the stock and cook the paella as per the instructions. This method helps in saving time and ensures the flavors meld well together.

What sides pair well with Chicken and Chorizo Paella?

Chicken and Chorizo Paella pairs wonderfully with a simple green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette. You can also serve it with roasted vegetables or a refreshing tomato and cucumber salad. For an added touch, quick-fried green beans seasoned with salt make a delightful side dish.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Bring a taste of Spain to your kitchen with our easy-to-follow Chicken and Chorizo Paella recipe, featuring smoked paprika and optional saffron.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4
...

Ingredients
  

  • 4 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 red bell pepper thickly sliced
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 boneless skin-on chicken thighs (or bites of chicken breast)
  • 3 cured gluten-free chorizo sausages cut into 2-inch pieces
  • teaspoons smoked paprika
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • 14- ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • cups Spanish rice
  • good pinch saffron threads optional
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary

Instructions
 

  • Cut the chicken thighs in half or into thirds if they are large. Season them well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in the pan and cook the chicken, skin side down, until deeply golden. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, thyme or rosemary, paprika, chorizo, and saffron (if using) to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add a bit more oil if necessary.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and rice, then pour in the stock. Season generously with salt and pepper, then nestle the chicken and its juices back into the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cover with foil. Cook without stirring for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender but still slightly firm. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Cook’s note: For a nice touch, top the paella with quick-fried green beans. Heat a bit of olive oil in a sauté pan. When hot, add a layer of beans and cook over high heat for about 2 minutes until lightly blistered. Season with salt.
Keyword Chicken, rice

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