Chicken Paella

This week, I’m going on a bit of a world food kick. So let’s start with Spain, shall we? A few weeks ago, my friend Sam came to visit the District, and the two of us went back to one of her favorite tapas restaurants, Jaleo. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with D.C., Jose Andres is a big name around here. I’m not going to lie, I sort of majorly love him and his restaurants. He recently won the James Beard award and has a penchant for experimenting with traditional cuisine and ingredients. He’s a gastronomic genius. Needless to say, Sam and I both left Jaleo happy as clams (did I mention they have delicious sangria?), and, ever since, I’ve been thinking that I need to start cooking more Spanish food.

My friends Mary and Alex came over for dinner the other night, so I decided to try my hand at making paella. After scouring the internet for recipes and reading about different techniques, I came across a post on Gwyneth Paltrow’s site, GOOP. Apparently, the woman is not only fortunate enough to be married to the lead singer of Coldplay, but she also is friends with Jose Andres who just shows up and cooks her dinner. Jealous much? I know I am. Anyway, the beauty of this is that he was kind enough to share his recipe for paella. So, using that as my base and making a few alterations, I give you paella, Rosemary-style.

Happy eating!

Chicken Paella
Adapted from Jose Andres as featured on GOOP. I could not get my hands on bomba rice ANYWHERE, so I wound up having to use arborio. I definitely intend to use bomba next time around. Do NOT use a cast iron or nonstick skillet for this. Your dish will lose a lot of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Sizable pinch Spanish saffron (Trader Joe’s is cheapest!)
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1.5 lbs (about 7) chicken drumsticks, skin on
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated tomato
  • Scant  ½ cup dry, white wine
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (use pimenton if you can find it)
  • 1½ cups arborio or bomba rice
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • In a small pot, heat your stock and saffron. Simmer, then keep warm until ready to use.
  • In a 12-inch skillet, heat your oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil starts to glisten, add in the sliced peppers. Saute until they’ve started to brown (about 3-5 minutes). Remove peppers.
  • Season your chicken with salt and pepper on all sides. Add to the hot pan. Sear on all sides until golden brown. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your drumsticks. Once seared, remove from heat. This can take up to 10 minutes depending on the temperature and size of your pan.
  • Add your onion and garlic, lowering the heat to medium. Cook two minutes, then add in your grated tomato.

You can probably use some canned, diced tomatoes, but the grated texture is excellent.

  • Cook for an additional minute, scraping up any of the brown bits left from the chicken/peppers.
  • Pour in the wine, stir, and let it reduce by half.
  • Now, add the peppers and chicken back to the pan. Then, add your broth. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes so that the flavors meld.
  • Stir in your rice. Season with some salt and pepper, then stir once more. Cook for ten minutes.

  • At that point, check the rice for done-ness. If it isn’t done or some parts are cooking more than others, you can break the cardinal rule of paella-ness and stir once again (or shift your pan or something. Basically, just prevent the rice from burning).
  • Now, sprinkle your paprika on top and, if you want, a little bit more crushed saffron. Cook for five more minutes then remove from heat.
  • Wait five minutes then serve.

Serves 4.

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