When I feel like making something truly special, I make this Paella. It’s beyond yummy, and I just couldn’t love the stuff any more if I tried. It’s not the most classic version in the world – it involves herby pork sausage which isn’t traditional at all – but it’s just really, really good. It’s also not that hard to make, which I remember surprised me when I first started experimenting with making it. I think that, until you’re comfortable in the kitchen, one type of dish that’s always a little daunting is one where you’re baking meat, veggies and rice all at the same time, in the same pot…obviously, the goal is to get everything cooked at the same time and with perfect texture. You want the rice to be super fluffy, the meat to be fork tender, the veggies done perfectly, the liquid all absorbed…there’s a lot goin’ on! But it doesn’t have to be scary or difficult! In fact, learning how to make truly one pot meals like this is pretty fun, because once you’ve got it down, you realize how hands-off it is and you can start experimenting with gorgeous, delicious dishes like this one.
If you’re looking for a weeknight meal that’ll last you a few nights, or a something special to set in the middle of the table for your next socially distanced dinner party, try this Paella. I highly recommend sticking with the herby sausage, even though it’s not totally traditional – it really does add something nice and light to this dish, plus it’s always good try something new, right? If you’ve got about an hour and an oven safe pan with a tight fitting lid, you can have this on the table tonight. Here’s how to get it there:
Kinda Classic Paella
- 3 large links herby pork sausage you an also use hot or mild Italian sausage
- 2 chicken breasts cubed
- 1 yellow or brown onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 chili of your choice I prefer Scotch Bonnet
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1/4 tsp saffron, steeped in 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 can chopped tomatoes with juice
- 450ml cups boiling chicken stock 450 mL is about 2 cups
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Fresh thyme
- Unsalted butter
Preheat an oven to 170FAN (about 375 Fahrenheit).
In a large, oven-safe pan or skillet, over medium high heat, brown the sausage. Once it's browned, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Next, brown the chicken. Once it's browned on the outside, remove it and set it aside. *Don't worry about cooking the meat all the way through, just get it seared a bit on the outside. It's going to get cooked through when we bake everything together.
After you remove the chicken, add a pad of butter (about 1 tbsp) to the hot skillet. It will begin to melt immediately. Add the chopped onion and stir to coat the onion in the butter and any drippings from the browned meat.
Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until it's just softened, and then add the bell pepper and stir.
Add the garlic and stir. Saute for about 2 minutes, until the garlic is slightly fragrant.
Add the chili and stir. Saute for about 1 minute.
Add the paprika, dried oregano, salt and pepper, and stir to coat the veggies in the spices.
Add the tomato paste and stir to distribute it as evenly as you can.
Add the rice and stir to combine everything together.
Add your liquids: add the saffron and its' steeping liquid, the can of tomatoes and the chicken stock. Stir to combine.
Add the meat to the rice and veggie mixture and stir to combine.
Add a few pads of butter to the top of the mixture (don't worry about stirring them in) and then add a few sprigs of fresh thyme to the top of the mixture (don't stir those in, either!)
Bake, covered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and bump the heat to 180FAN (about 385 Fahrenheit).
Add the frozen peas to the dish and gently press them down into the mixture so they are slightly submerged in the remaining liquid.
Cover and bake for another 10 minutes, and then uncover and finish baking for 10 more minutes, or until the liquid is completely absorbed and the rice is fluffy.