Paella could be the ultimate one-pot meal, were it not for the fact that the traditional preparation is actually kind of a big production. But it’s so good. I set out to create a doable weeknight version, and this recipe is the happy result. There’s something in the pan for everyone: creamy rice, tender chunks of chicken, smoky spiced sausage and shrimp. Pull out your largest skillet for this, ideally one with at least 3-inch (8-cm) sides.
Excepted with permission from: Family Style: Shared Plates for Casual Feasts.
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- Shells from 1 lb (455 g) peeled jumbo shrimp
- 1 small fennel bulb (stalks trimmed) or 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, cut into thick slices
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/ 2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 6 cups water
For the Paella
- 1/ 4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/ 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- 3/ 4 pound uncooked chorizo sausage, removed from casings
- 2 1/ 2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/ 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/ 4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups Spanish Bomba Rice or Arborio Rice
- 4 1/ 2 cups shrimp stock
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled
- 1/ 3 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/ 2 lemon
For the shrimp broth, in a large pot combine the shells, fennel, onion, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns and water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, uncovered. Pour the broth through a mesh strainer or colander into a saucepan or large bowl and keep it warm.
For the paella, heat a 14- to 16-inch (36- to 41-cm) paella pan or a large (12- to 14-inch [31- to 36-cm]) pan that has at least 3-inch (8-cm) sides over medium-high heat.
Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil, the chicken and chorizo and cook until the chorizo is browned and the exterior of the chicken is opaque, about 10 minutes total (do this in two batches if your pan is less than 14 inches [36 cm] in diameter). Sprinkle the meat with 1 teaspoon of salt, then remove it to a plate, using tongs.
Add the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, the onion, bell pepper and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, paprika, black pepper and cayenne to the pan, and stir to coat them with the oil. Stir in the rice, reserved chicken and chorizo, 1½ teaspoons (5 g) of salt and the shrimp broth.
Bring the mixture to a lively simmer and cook it for 18 to 20 minutes, uncovered, until the liquid is almost absorbed and the rice grains rise to the surface of the pan.
Arrange the shrimp over the top of the rice, lower the heat to medium low and cover the pan. Cook until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp.
Sprinkle the cilantro over the paella, squeeze the lemon over it and serve.