Paella is a one-pot dish made from rice and either seafood and/or meat from Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. It is traditionally flavored with saffron.
It's one of my favorite meals on a winter night. And it's a great way to get some nutritious seafood into your family.
I adapted this recipe from Cook's Illustrated. For this recipe, you don't need the giant paella pan. You can make paella in a Dutch oven (the Dutch oven should be at least a 6-quart capacity).
Dry-cured Spanish chorizo is the sausage of choice for paella, but fresh chorizo or linguiça is an acceptable substitute. If you can't find any of those, use a spicy Italian sausage.
If you buy sprouted rice (or germinate your own rice at home) you do not need to soak the rice. You can find sprouted rice on my resources page.
Dutch Oven Paella
Things to do Ahead
Optional: Soak the rice 8 hours ahead (or overnight)
Brown rice — sprouted if possible (2 cups) — where to buy sprouted rice
Whey, buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, Apple Cider Vinegar, or lemon juice (2 TBS)
Filtered water (1 1/2 cups) — where to buy filtered water
Shrimp, wild, extra-large (1 lb)
Olive oil, extra-virgin, or expeller pressed coconut oil — where to buy olive oil
Garlic cloves (8-9)
Chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, pastured or free-range organic (1 lb) — where to buy chicken
Red bell pepper (1)
Spanish chorizo, or use Italian sausage if unavailable (8 oz)
Onion, yellow or white, medium (1)
Diced tomatoes (1 – 14 1/2 oz can)
Chicken stock, preferably homemade (3 cups) — click here for my recipe
White wine, dry (1/3 cup)
Saffron threads (1/2 tsp)
Bay leaf (1) — where to buy bay leaves
Green peas, frozen (1/2 cup)
Parsley leaves, fresh (2 teaspoons)
Lemon, organic (1)
Large stock pot or Dutch Oven
1. Warm 1 cup of the filtered water in a small saucepan to about body temperature (warm to touch, but not hot).
2. Add the brown rice and the warm water, plus 1 tablespoon of whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk to a glass or enamelware bowl or mason jar.
3. Cover and let soak for 8-24 hours in a warm place.
4. Peel and devein the shrimp. (Devein means pull out the black thing on the back of the shrimp — do not skip this step). Remove the peas from the freezer and allow to defrost.
5. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Peel garlic cloves and finely mince. Toss shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and one teaspoon of minced garlic together in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
7. Season the chicken thighs with sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
8. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove seeds from the bell pepper and slice into strips. Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer peppers to a small plate and set aside.
9. Add another teaspoon of oil to the now empty pot. Add chicken pieces in a single layer. Cook, without moving pieces, until
browned, about 3 minutes. Turn pieces and brown on other side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl.
10.Reduce heat to medium.
11. Slice the sausage into 1/2 inch pieces, on the bias.
12. Add the sausage to the pot, stirring frequently, until deeply browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
13. Transfer sausage to the bowl with the chicken.
14. Add enough oil to the pot now to equal 2
15. Peel and dice the onion. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes.
16. Stir in the remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
17. Drain the can of tomatoes well. Add to the pot and cook until mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes.
18. Strain the rice and rinse. Stir in the rice and cook until grains are well coated with tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, white wine,saffron, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
19. Return chicken and sausage to the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until rice absorbs almost all the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from oven. Uncover, and scatter shrimp over rice.
20. Scrub and debeard the mussels. Rinse in a colander. With your hands, remove the “beard” — the little hairy bit — from each mussel. It's near the hinge. Pull hard. (Do NOT do this step ahead. After you do this, the mussels die and go bad, so it's important to do this just before cooking.)
21. Insert mussels, hinged side down into rice (so they stand upright), arrange bell pepper strips in a pinwheel pattern, and scatter peas over top. Cover and return to oven. Cook until shrimp are opaque and mussels have opened, 10 to 12 minutes.
22. Let paella stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened and bay leaf.
23. Roughly chop the parsley and sprinkle over the paella.
24. Cut the lemon into wedges, and serve,passing lemon wedges separately
Photo Credit: pirate johnny, on Flickr