I had to cook for another one of our kid-adult play/dinner dates. It had to be something we would all enjoy and of course it had to healthy. I had just finished watching something on television about Spain- and what is the first thing that comes to mind- well, okay, two things- sangrias and paellas, right?? Well, it does for me…
I thought I could make a kid friendly paella with chicken, mild sausages and shrimp. I really wanted to add chorizo instead of a mild sausage, but I wasn’t sure how the kids would react to it- Sia can handle it but I wasn’t sure of the others. I LOVE chorizo, in case you don’t know what it is- it’s either fresh or cured sausage, made out of pork and various spices. Either way it is full of flavor and delicious. I can make a meal out of lots of chorizo, some Manchego cheese and red wine- oh, and maybe some delicious olives- you don’t need another thing! Chorizo and paella remind me of our trip to Barcelona. We ate a great meal, 3 times a day for our entire trip. The wine, tapas, paellas, sangrias and most of all the flan. I had to have a flan everyday and it was good every time! That reminds me to post a flan recipe soon! Anyway, the paellas were delicious with all sorts of seafood, and meats added to them.
I of course needed to make it quite simple and straight forward- so I didn’t add any spice- just lots of flavor. Who doesn’t like chicken, sausage, shrimp and rice?? I added some frozen green peas to fulfill the vegetable quota and some red peppers to give it color. The arborio rice made the dish really creamy and the chicken broth and saffron added great flavor. Adding the shrimp at the last minute ensured perfectly cooked crustaceans. I was extremely happy with the way the dish turned out.
The kids ate the dish but a bit reluctantly- Sia wanted only the shrimp and sausage and the other kids were not too keen on the shrimp. Once they were told about the no dessert till the dinner was done policy- everyone ate their share. The adults enjoyed it with a Malbec Rose- my favorite wine for the summer!
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half crosswise
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 sausage links- any kind will do (the original has chorizo), sliced ½ inch thick on the bias
- 8 garlic cloves, minced or through a garlic press
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch wide strips
- 1 cup onion, chopped fine
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1½ cups arborio rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup dry white or rose wine
- ½ teaspoon saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
- Olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and keep aside. Toss shrimp with 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon garlic in medium bowl; cover and refrigerate.
Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer, cook, without moving pieces until brown, about 3-4 minutes. Turn pieces and repeat the process. Keep the chicken aside. Next, add the sausages and brown 4-5 minutes till some fat is rendered. Transfer the sausages with the chicken.
Add the red peppers to the Dutch oven and cook till the skin begins to blister and turn brown, 3-4 minutes. Transfer peppers to small plate and set aside.
Add enough oil to the fat in Dutch oven to equal 2 tablespoons. Add the onion and cook over medium high heat for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and cook till the mixture begins to thicken, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in rice and cook till the grains are well coated with tomato mixture. Stir in the broth, wine, saffron and 2 teaspoons salt. Return the chicken and sausages to the pot, increase the heat to medium high and bring to boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, or till the liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven and scatter the shrimp, peppers and peas on the paella. Cover and return to oven; cook until shrimp are opaque – another 13-14 minutes.
Let paella stand, covered for about 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
Should serve 4-6 people.