The other day I wanted to make soup.
It was cold and dreary outside,
and there is little that a pot of soup simmering over a warm stove all day can not heal.
But, unfortunately, my son isn't a big fan of liquid based dinners, a trait he must have inherited from his father, since my husband doesn't believe soup to be a meal either...
What if it were a chowder!?
Clam chowder, corn chowder...Maybe a bisque?!
Nope. Still too close to soup.
This is my thought process...
So, then I thought about making a beef stew...that might be a sell!?
But we just had pot roast the previous night...too similar...
So I graduated to Boeuf Bourguignon...
just a fancy French term for beef stew...we are still there.
Then Coq au vin came to mind...that might have worked, but I didn't feel like having chicken.
What about Bouillabaisse!?
Bouillabaisse, Jambalaya maybe...
How 'bout Paella!?
I have never made Paella!?
And what a great choice.
Not only did I conquer my fear of this seemingly complicated mixed sea and land dish from Spain, but all were satisfied;
I got my warm-over-the-stove experience;
my husband was happy because I made something different, delicious, and not soup;
and my son...well, my son did not eat it assembled, but he did eat the sausage, cleaned of sauce...and the accompanied bread.
Close enough for me!
Yields enough for one large human or an entire hungry family
1 cup of brown rice
4 cups of unsalted chicken stock (pref. homemade)
24 small little neck clams, scrubbed and cleaned
1 lb. of link sausage (or chorizo) cut into 1 inch lengths
4 chicken thighs, trimmed and sliced or cubed
1 lb. deveined, peeled, uncooked medium to large shrimp
large dry scallops (one or two per person)
1 onion, sliced or chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced or chopped
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1 stalk of celery with leaves, chopped
2 fresh garden tomatoes, chopped (or one large can of diced tomatoes)
1 can of San marzano tomatoes
Seasoning mix (combine the following):
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp. cayenne (+ extra tsp. for chicken)
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
juice of 1/2 a lemon
crusty bread, warmed (optional: make into garlic bread)
1. In a large paella pan, or deep saute pan, saute onion and red pepper in 2 tbsp. olive oil until fragrant, about 7 minutes, stirring.
2. Add garlic and celery and saute 2 minutes, stirring.
3. Add seasoning to the onion, red pepper, garlic and celery mixture.
4. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute chicken thighs and sausage until mostly cooked (season with a tsp of spice mix and a tsp. more of cayenne)
5. Add rice to the onion/pep/garlic/celery mixture and stir to coat.
6. Add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, continuously stirring as the liquid is absorbed, and rice is cooked through (about 45-55 minutes). Check to make sure rice is tender. Add more stock if necessary and continue to stir and cook until rice is tender.
7. Add tomatoes, chicken, sausage, seafood and clams. Simmer until clams open and shrimp and scallops are opaque.
8. Squeeze lemon juice over entire pan of mixture and serve with warmed crusty bread.
This is such a great dish to be served and shared family style, and is relatively easy to make.
Cooking the rice is a bit laborious, so if you are short on time, you could cook the rice separately and just mix into the onion/pepper/garlic/celery mixture.
Either way, it is well worth every and any effort.