At a recent beach gathering, instead of bringing the common potato or pasta salad to accompany burgers and hot dogs, we decided to really go for the wow factor with a one-dish meal: Paella.
We used a recipe that we adapted from an old friend from Spain. The dish is a burst of colors, flavors, and textures that can be made ahead of time, enjoyed at room temperature, or thrown on the grill to add a bit of heat. If you have the paella pan, it is quite the display and the handles on the pan allow for an easy transport. Because you can eat it at room temperature (it does not have to be super hot), you can place it on a picnic blanket or table for people to dig in!
Seated in beach chairs and covered in blankets, with a fork in one hand and a glass of sangria in the other, we dig in.
5 T EVOO
2 links chorizo, sliced in thick discs
2 t paprika
10 chicken drumsticks
1 Spanish onion, diced
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained
4 cloves minced garlic
3 c Arborio rice
6 c chicken stock
generous pinch saffron threads
2 lbs uncooked shrimp
2 red peppers, julienned 2 T fresh chopped parsley
wedges of 1 lemon for serving
generous salt and pepper throughout
Heat 1 T EVOO in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned on both sides, remove from pan and reserve. Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt, pepper and paprika. Add 1 T EVOO to the paella pan and add the chicken skin-side down. Brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Remove and reserve.
To make the sofrito: Add 3 T EVOO to the paella pan. Add the onion and sautee until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, more paprika, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook until all the flavors meld, another 7-10 minutes. Stir in the rice and let toast and meld with the sofrito, about 2 minutes. Pour the chicken broth and saffron into the pan and allow the rice to evenly absorb the liquid. Add chicken and chorizo, and allow to cook untouched for 12-15 minutes. When the rice starts to plump, nestle in the red peppers and shrimp. Cook for an additional 6-8 minutes until the shrimp is pink and the chicken is cooked through. Add the parsley and garnish with the lemons wedges. Serves 10-12.
Plates are not needed-grab a fork and dig into the big pan!