Paella is a traditional dish from Spain that was typically cooked over an open fire. It can include practically any ingredient that goes well with rice, but seafood variations seem to be the most common.
Saffron has a well-deserved reputation as being the most expensive of herbs and spices, even when one considers that no more than a thread or two of the precious spice is needed to flavor an entire meal. Besides its culinary uses, though, saffron has a long history of medicinal use, both in Eastern and Western traditions. Seen as mostly a culinary herb for decades, the new interest in herbal remedies is bringing saffron’s medicinal properties back into the limelight. The herb was mentioned in the Bible, and was used by ancient Greeks, Indians and Egyptians.
Paella is NOT a quick meal to prepare, but the extra work is well worth it!
This recipe can be easily customized to use any protein source you like (chicken, sausage, fish, shrimp, oysters, etc) or all of the above. Though rice can be used, I substitute grated cauliflower for a boost of nutrients and to make a grain free dish.
- 2 Chicken Thighs
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 link of chorizo sausage
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup of clam juice (from canned clams) or more chicken broth
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 fresh tomatoes or 1 jar of diced tomatos, diced and drained
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed and diced
- 1 pinch of saffron threads
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ pound of shrimp
- 1 dozen clams
- 1 dozen oysters
- Parsley and lemon to garnish
- Put the olive oil or butter in a large flat skillet.
- Saute the chorizo until browned and remove from pan.
- Cut chicken in to bit size pieces and add to pan. Cook until cooked through and browned and remove.
- In the same pan, place the finely diced onion, garlic, pepper and tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat until onions are translucent.
- Using a food processor or cheese grater, grate the cauliflower until it is in small, rice-size pieces. Add to pan with chicken broth and clam stock.
- Add saffron, salt, pepper and paprika and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
- While that is simmering, add ½ inch of water to a small pan and bring to a boil. Add the clams and cook at least 5 minutes until they have opened up. Do not use any that don't open! Cook oysters and set aside.
- When the cauliflower is starting to get tender, add the shrimp and continue to cook until pink.
- When shrimp and cauliflower are cooked and cauliflower is bright yellow from the saffron, add the cooked sausage, chicken and clams to the top of the pan.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and squeeze lemon wedges on top just before serving.
Ever made paella? What ethnic foods do you enjoy? Share below!