Te Amo Paella

Once a month, a group of friends and I get together for dinner club, taking turns hosting a theme dinner in our home.  It’s our chance to catch up, try new cuisine and do some creative entertaining.  

This past month my friend Stephanie hosted a Spanish themed dinner.  It was the perfect theme for the steamy summer evening and a way for her to share some amazing stories and recipes from the time she spent living in Spain.  

With our host serving a lovely chicken dish and other guests covering tapas and dessert, I decided a Paella side dish was in order.  Nothing screamed Spain to me more than this classic rice dish.  I found two great recipes on Pinterest to help inspire and guide me in creating the dish.  The first was an Easy Paella recipe from Martha Stewart Living and the second being Paella from the blog Betsy Life.

Here’s to summer evenings filled with lovely friends and great food.  Salud!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 link chorizo, sliced in half lengthwise and then sliced into 1/2-inch half rounds

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Directions

Pre-prep work
– Chop Onion
– Mince Garlic
– Remove tails from shrimp (I find this makes it easier to eat)

In a heavy large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp until just pink on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes (do not overcook). Transfer to a plate and save for later.

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Add remaining tablespoon oil and chorizo to pan; cook over medium-high heat until the chorizo begins to brown, about 2 minutes. You will see the juices of the chorizo start to appear – this will give great flavor to your dish.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. Add garlic and rice and continue cooking until rice is translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes.

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Lastly, stir in paprika, turmeric, tomatoes, and broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Note:  Be careful on adding salt – I decided not to add any salt as I found the dish salty enough without adding more.  You might want to use reduced salt chicken broth and tomatoes to help reduce and control the salt content.

Bring rice mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a slow simmer.  Continue to cook until rice is tender and has absorbed almost all liquid, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Add peas and cook for 1 minute. Stir in cooked shrimp and serve immediately.

Main Dish Alternative – Since my hostess was serving chicken as a main dish I did not add chicken as is traditional to paella.  In the future, I would add ¾ pound cubed chicken to the dish.  You can add the chicken to the pan along with the chorizo and continue cooking as directed.  Scallops or calamari would be a nice addition as well.  If adding additional seafood, make sure to follow the same directions as the shrimp.  You want to make sure not to overcook the seafood, as it will become rubbery. 

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