Easy Weeknight Paella

If you want authentic paella, you'll need to carve out a day and start a wood fire. We certainly have nothing against this method--it's an experience like none other. But you can get fairly close to the original with this version from cooking expert Mark Bittman. While Catalans don't consider this paella (they call it "rice with things"), we really like this rice and its things. And we love the timing...in under an hour, you'll have a lovely dish with delectable flavor and virtually no chance at leftovers! 

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Master Paella Recipe

3 Tbl Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lb sliced chorizo
1/4 lb cubed chicken thighs or pork loin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, minced
2 cups rice
1 good pinch—about 1/2 tsp saffron
1 3/4 cups chicken stock, heated and kept warm
An additional 1 cup warm stock (for re-wetting the paella)
1 3/4 cups white wine, heated and kept warm
1/2 pound peeled, tail-on medium-large shrimp
1/2 pound vegetables like frozen peas, julienned yellow and red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms

Heat Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a Paella Pan or shallow 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add chorizo and chicken or pork. Season with salt and pepper and cook until well browned. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until soft.

Add rice and saffron and cook, stirring, until the rice is shiny and coated with the oil. Add the stock and wine and stir until just combined. You can then stir in the shrimp and or lay them in an attractive pattern on top.

Cook over medium-high heat, undisturbed. When the liquid is almost cooked away, taste the rice. If the rice seems tough, add another 1/2 cup or so of the reserved chicken stock. If you smell that the bottom is burning, lower the heat. At about this point (halfway through the cooking process) add in the vegetables—you can stir them in—very gently, stirring only once—or lay them on top so as not to disturb the shrimp if you’ve arranged them in a pleasing pattern.

The rice is done when tender and still a bit moist; if the mixture has stuck to the bottom of the pan, this is a very good thing. It’s called socarrat—the characteristic of a good paella. Place on the center of the table and serve family style.

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