Festive Paella

Paella is a meal that can easily get the food critics going. So many opinions out there of what a proper paella should include, or shouldn’t. There are many delicious variations of this dish and this one is what you would call ‘paella mixta’ or a mixed paella. It’s probably far from an authentic one because I don’t have the rice that is normally used in paella like Bomba rice or another variety commonly used and known as senia, and likely several other reasons according to critics. But I can assure you that it is delicious and you will enjoy it!

Festive Paella

This is a quick paella that can easily get whipped up midweek. It’s satisfying and bursting with lots of flavours. As I mentioned before, I usually don’t prefer dishes with more than one variety of meat but the variety of meat in paella works. The blend of meats is delicious and they all get seasoned with the delicious flavours of the chorizo sausage which adds a hint of heat (depending on the chorizo) and smokiness to the dish. The addition of the extra veggies flavour the dish and add even more texture to it too.

Festive Paella

I have a deep love for rice and rice dishes and this is definitely an “A plus” rice dish. It literally is a one pot dish which is not only practical, but also the reason it is so flavourful. One of the best things about paella in general is how versatile a dish it is. That goes the same for this recipe too. If you keep the staple components the same – like the rice amount to liquid, tomatoes, spices and veggies, you can really switch it up. If you want to upgrade your paella you can swap some of the meat for other popular additions like snails, duck, rabbit, and a variety of seafood in shell. You can make it vegetarian adding string beans and butter beans or you can make it a singular meat paella too. It comes down to what you have available.

Festive Paella

I know that whatever combo you come up with of this paella (Spanish for pan) will be delicious! So go ahead and give it a try and make sure to let me know what you included in your version!

Festive Paella

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • ¾ lb of medium shrimp peeled and deveined (I kept the tail on) tossed with some salt and pepper
  • 2–3 boneless chicken thighs skin off and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 sausages (chorizo is ideal but any would work - I used chorizo sausage in these pictures) roughly chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 celery stalk chopped finely
  • 1 red bell pepper or 3-4 pimento pepper chopped finely
  • ¼ tsp of chili flakes (optional for a little extra heat and flavour)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1½ cups of long grain rice
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste or purée
  • 2½ cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • Squeeze of lemon juice and lots of parsley to serve and garnish with

Directions

  1. In a 12 inch heavy bottom large skillet melt the butter along with the oil on medium/high heat and toss in the shrimp and sauté until just pink on both sides them remove from pan and set aside (do not overcook – they will finish off cooking when you add them back to pan later)

  2. Add the chicken and chorizo and sauté for at least a few minutes until starting to brown then add all the veggies including the onion and the chili flakes if using, sauté for another 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and veggies are tender.

  3. Add the garlic and the rice and cook stirring until rice is translucent. Just a minute or two for this.

  4. Stir in the paprika and the turmeric, scraping the bottom of the pan and then add the tomatoes and purée and continue to stir things well to coat.

  5. Stir in the broth and keep scraping the bottom of pan to loosen any crispy bits of flavour.

  6. Season well with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce heat so that it’s a low simmer.

  7. Cover with lid or foil wrapped tightly and cook for 15-20 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed and rice is tender. I usually check mine half way through and I stir it a little and also check if it needs a splash more broth or water.

  8. Stir in the peas and cook for a minute then add the shrimp and cover and remove from heat and serve with a splash of lemon juice and chopped parsley to garnish. (Shrimp will cook the rest of way if needed from the steam coming off the covered pan)

Recipe adapted from Jaimie Oliver’s and Martha Stewart’s versions of this dish

Festive Paella