Paella can be made with different ingredients depending on what you have on hand or can find fresh in the market. It can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. It can be made with very expensive seafood or with inexpensive chicken thighs, pork and chorizo. The Campesina version is made without seafood. The Valenciana version features both seafood and chicken (or rabbit).
Today I am making a dumb down inexpensive version. The only seafood I am using is shrimp. I usually make it with mussels and clams because I love the opened shells nesting on the yellow rice but the bf asked me to leave it out today. I've seen other inexpensive versions of this dish made using tumeric instead of saffron. I feel that flavor of saffron cannot be replicated. The tumeric will make the rice yellow but it will not impart the delicate fragrance.
1 large chicken breast, cubed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 cups chicken stock
1 pinch saffron
4 links chorizo sausage, sliced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups Calasparra, Bomba, or Arborio rice
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and diced (concasse)
½ cup white wine
10 ounces frozen peas
1. Marinate chicken breast in paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
3. In a saucepan, combine the stock with the saffron and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, lower heat and keep stock hot while prepping other ingredients.
4. In a 14-inch paella pan or large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken and cook over medium-high heat, turning, until browned all over; transfer to a platter.
5. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to the platter with the chicken. Add the shrimp and cook until slightly pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to the platter with the chicken.
6. Add two teaspoons olive oil to the pan. Add rice and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the tomato and red bell pepper and cook 2 more minutes until tomatoes and bell peppers are soft.
7. Carefully pour the hot stock into the pan. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add the chorizo and stir. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
8. Top with peas, chicken breast pieces and shrimp. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the paella stand for 5 minutes.