So this week, I decided I would be a real person and cook some real food. To push myself even further, I decided to tackle something new. For this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was paired up with Corina's Searching for Spice blog. Can I say that this blog excites me? Is that going to far? Great. I didn't think so either. I love spices and anything remotely related to ethnic food, so this blog was a perfect match. I can't believe how many recipes I want to try. I don't even have enough time to talk about it all. Check it out for yourself!
One of Corina's dishes immediately caught my attention. Paella. For some reason, I have never had paella before. I don't know why but this should be fixed immediately. Now I know in my heart of hearts that I will most likely not recreate the full authentic flavors of Spain since I don't have the exact rice and I don't have all the correct spices. However, that doesn't mean that I can't still make a mean pot of flavorful rice. I had to give this recipe a shot.
adapted from Searching for Spice's Paella Recipe
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2lb chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ~2 ounces chorizo, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- handful of green beans, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1 cup paella rice or arborio rice
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- habanero sauce, to taste
- 1 bottle of lager beer
1) Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons olive oil into a wide pan, over medium heat.
2) Add the chicken to the pan and saute briefly, until white on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside for later.
3) Put the onion and garlic into the same pan and fry until softened, ~2 minutes.
4) Add the chorizo and saute for another 1-2 minutes, until the chorizo begins to cook and release its oil.
5) Toss in the tomatoes, red pepper and green beans.
6) Put the chicken back in the pan and add the spices and habanero sauce.
7) Pour the rice into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to combine.
8) Cover the paella with the beer. If it isn't fully covered, add more beer or water until just covered.
9) Let the paella simmer, uncovered, over low-to-medium heat for anywhere from 20-40 minutes. (20 minutes is the minimum time the paella should simmer. If the paella gets dry, add more beer or water. I let mine simmer for almost 40 minutes because I apparently had a lot of liquid in the pan.)
(Still too much liquid in this pan!)
The rice turned out to be quite flavorful and spicy. Because of the different cooking method, the arborio rice wasn't as creamy as it would be in a risotto, but that's sort of the point here! I loved the combination of the vegetables paired with the chicken and the chorizo. Since I didn't have any saffron on hand, the addition of turmeric substituted nicely. The spice was then amped up even more with the addition of the habanero sauce. I don't mind this at all and I think it fit in perfectly with the spirit of the dish. Corina was definitely on to something with this recipe and I'm looking forward to making it again.