What ever happened to those good old-fashioned butcher stores where slabs of meat hung in windows or in freezers in the backroom? You could ask for whatever cut of meat you wanted, and you could tell that the man handling your meat knew his stuff and cared about his customers. Nowadays, butcher stores are not as prevalent as they once were; many of them have been replaced by mainstream grocery stores. However, I recently went to a butcher store in Clarendon, VA called El Chaparral that specializes not only in meat, but in South American meat. They had succulent looking, homemade chorizo that I decided to buy; 4 Argentinian links and 4 Salvadorean links. The Salvadorean links were far more red in color and thus, more spicy. The Argentinian links looked more like sweet Italian sausage in color, but with Latin American spices. I instantly decided that I’d freeze 4 of my links and then use the other 4 to make a quick and easy paella.
Paella is a Spanish dish that has saffron in it along with rice, peas, tomatoes, chorizo, crawfish, chicken, etc… Saffron is a very expensive spice and one that I don’t have on hand. However, you can get away with not using saffron in your paella. A few months ago, I volunteered at a cooking school in DC helping an Indian chef prep for his cooking class. One of the things he shared was that tumeric is an Indian spice that is also called “poor man’s saffron.” It is often substituted for saffron by many Indians who cannot afford it or who don’t have it on hand. Since I had tumeric, I decided to use that in place of the saffron. Some examples of short or medium-grained rice are Arborio rice or Spanish rice. There’s also specialty Spanish rice that has already been seasoned with saffron. You can opt to use tumeric in place of saffron or you can use the saffron-seasoned rice. Either option would be suitable for a quick and easy paella. For two people, this recipe will give you dinner and leftovers for the next day. Hope you guys give this one a try!
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 chorizo links, cut into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups short- or medium-grain rice
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 tomato, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 400°F.
- Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add chorizo and cook until browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add rice (medium or short grain rice), tumeric, paprika, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and coat the rice, about 1 minute.
- Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- Add the frozen peas and tomato; stir to combine.
- Transfer skillet to oven. Cook uncovered until rice is tender and no liquid remains, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, fluff with a fork, and serve immediately.