Easy Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp Paella

 

Easy Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp Paella
slightly adapted and with thanks to Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

2-1/2 cups chicken broth
Pinch of Spanish saffron (SEE NOTES)
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped
8 oz Mexican chorizo (I use my homemade version)
1 large shallot or 1/2 red onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped (or 1 14.5-oz. can petite diced tomatoes)
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup long grain white rice
6-8 oz frozen shrimp (small or extra small is fine)
1 cup frozen peas

Method

Bring chicken broth and saffron to a boil in a small saucepan then turn heat to low and place a lid on top to keep hot.

Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat then add chicken, chorizo, and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until chorizo and chicken are cooked through, 5 minutes, breaking chorizo up as it cooks. Add garlic then saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and their juices, paprika, and cayenne pepper if using then saute until tomatoes are softened, 3 minutes.

Add rice and hot broth to skillet then stir to combine and bring to a boil. Place a lid on top then lower heat and simmer until rice has nearly absorbed all the broth and is just slightly al dente, 13-15 minutes. Stir in shrimp and peas then place lid back on top and let skillet sit off the heat for 5 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste then serve.

NOTES

Fantastic. Spicy and savory and unlike any other dinner in my recipe archive. Bonus: I am always looking for more uses for my homemade Mexican-style chorizo. This recipe is a great addition to that (so far very short) list.

Note about the saffron: I am frugal in my kitchen and haven’t been able to bring myself to buy the saffron for this recipe. I simply add the 2-1/2 cups of very hot stock (or even just water!) to the pan with the rice. Yes, I know that technically saffron is what makes it paella. Yes, I know it’s not authentic. It’s still a fabulous dish. So if you don’t want to spend the money on the saffron, by all means, don’t! You can still make this delicious dinner without it.

Chicken and Shrimp Fried Rice

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Chicken and Shrimp Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 large carrot, diced (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2/3 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup frozen peas
6 oz extra small frozen shrimp
6 scallions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 cups cooked Jasmine rice (this is yield from 1 cup dry), refrigerated at least overnight (see cooking notes)
4 eggs, beaten, cooked scrambled, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 8-ounce can peeled, sliced water chestnuts

Method

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add seasoned chicken and stir fry until cooked through, about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in the wok, then add diced carrots and chopped onion. Stir fry until moderately soft, about 3 minutes. Add the frozen corn, frozen peas, shrimp, and scallions. Stir fry until tender, just 1 to 2 minutes, then add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 more seconds.

Lower the heat to medium. Add cooked chicken, cooked rice, cooked eggs, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and water chestnuts to the pan and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

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NOTES

Fried rice is easily my favorite old junk food/drunk food meal. When I lived in SoCal, I had access to all kinds of really good Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai spots all within a couple of miles and boy did I indulge. Frequently. After turning my attention this past year to cooking a bit more healthfully, I pushed fried rice out of my mind. I simply assumed it would never be a possibility again. Thankfully, I was wrong!

This recipe, adapted quite a bit from a base recipe over at Iowa Girl Eats (love. her.), only uses a tablespoon of oil so you get all the delicious without the grease. It’s amazing.

NOTE: USE COLD RICE! Trust me. If you don’t want clumped up, mushy fried rice, you MUST use cold cooked rice. I tested this theory one too many times and will never make the mistake again.

Linguine with Bay Scallops and Pancetta

Linguine with Bay Scallops and Pancetta

Ingredients

8 ounces linguine

1/3 pound pancetta, cut into large dice
1 pound bay scallops

2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add linguine, and cook until not quite al dente, 9-10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet on medium low and add pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fat has rendered and the pancetta is well browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove pancetta to paper towels to drain. Pour the rendered fat into a separate bowl, leaving about a tablespoon in the bottom of the pan.

(Note: Try not to eat all the pancetta as you’re cooking the rest of the dish. Me? I didn’t touch a single piece. Not a one. *Whistles*)

Turn the heat up to medium high. Add scallops and cook until just browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove scallops to a separate plate and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of the pancetta fat to the pan. Add garlic and shallots and saute until just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.

Add butter, parsley and basil. Cook, stirring, just until the butter melts, about 1 minute. Add the cooked scallops and pancetta back to the pan. Stir in linguine and toss to coat.

NOTES

One of those “accident” meals. I knew when I bought the bay scallops that I wanted to do a pasta, but I thought it would be an old one I used to make with Meyer lemon, chervil and breadcrumbs. Instead, I remembered I had a hunk of pancetta in my refrigerator and some shallots, parsley and basil to use, so this dinner was born.

This. Was. Spectacular. I don’t know about you, but when I combine shellfish and pasta, I don’t think there is any better sauce to bring the two together than one made with garlic, white wine and butter. The pork fat as cooking medium was just an added bonus… to say the least. I am definitely doing THAT again.

Speaking of which, if you can buy it nearby, I wholeheartedly, enthusiastically recommend Fra’Mani pancetta. I used it in another scallop dish not long back and now I am a loyal customer. I never even liked pancetta before I had theirs. And no, they didn’t pay me to say that.

Scallops with Pea Puree, Pancetta and Gremolata

I feel a pang of longing just looking at this photo again. *Whimper*

Scallops with Pea Puree, Pancetta and Gremolata
courtesy of Amy

Ingredients

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
3 ounces diced pancetta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups frozen early sweet peas, thawed
1 cup chicken broth
12 medium sea scallops, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Method

For the gremolata: in a small bowl combine the parsley, lemon zest, and one tablespoon of shallot. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the pancetta until crispy and cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan, leaving some of the reserved fat in the pan. Set aside.

In the same pan, over medium heat, sauté the garlic and remaining shallots for about 3-4 minutes. Add the peas and broth and season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 5 minutes.

Transfer the contents to a blender and puree to a smooth consistency. Return the puree to the pan, along with the cooked pancetta, cover and set aside to keep warm.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter and the remaining olive oil over medium-high until very hot. Add scallops and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and almost firm to the touch, about 3 minutes per side.

On serving plates, arrange the scallops on top of the puree and sprinkle with the gremolata.

NOTES

I barely know what to say about this. It surpassed my expectations beyond measure. In a single bite, you get the buttery scallop, salty pancetta, sweet and savory pea puree and sharp and pungent gremolata.

Absolutely ridiculously amazingly outrageously good. Thank you for convincing me to make this one, Amy; thank you times a million.