While I prepared to share this paella recipe, I thought, “How do you pronounce paella?” Yes, it has “l”s in it, but no, you don’t pronounce them. In Spain, it would be pronounced pa-ey-ya. But last week my good friend, Chef Luisa Rios, came over to my place to teach my husband and me how to make it (and learn some knife skills). Chef Luisa is from Columbia, and in some areas of South America, the “l” is said like a “j,” making it pa-ey-ja.
As we sat down to eat the dish, however, my thoughts were that it should be called paeyum!
The wonderful thing about making this dish is that you can modify it to suit your tastes, like a pizza! In fact, the way that it’s served it often looks somewhat like a pizza, in a round shallow pan with colourful pieces of food nicely placed in/on it.
The original paella recipe was from Jamie Oliver and included fennel, green pepper, chorizo, pancetta, and bacon, but to fit everyone’s preferences, this is what we made.
- • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- • 1 bunch asparagus, quartered
- • 1 jar artichokes, sliced
- • 2 chicken thighs (or 1 chicken breast) boneless, skinless
- • 1 onion, finely chopped
- • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- • 2 cups chicken stock, more if needed (we ended up adding in about another 2/3 cups)
- • 1 pinch saffron, about 1/4 teaspoon
- • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked is best for this)
- • 1 cup paella rice, arborio rice, or carnaroli rice
- • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- • 1 cup frozen peas
- • 12 prawns
- • salt and pepper, to taste
- • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
- Bring stock to a boil. Turn off heat and add saffron to infuse. Keep warm.
- Pull peas from the freezer and let thaw.
- Dice chicken into 3/4" cubes.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil.
- Add chicken to the pan and sauté until cooked through and golden brown on all sides. Remove from skillet and set aside. (It will still be raw on the inside, but will be cooked later with the rice and veggies.)
- Add onions and sauté until translucent (at least 5 minutes).
- Add peppers and asparagus to skillet and start to sauté about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute for 20 seconds.
- Return seared chicken to the skillet.
- Add paprika, a pinch of salt, and rice, stirring to coat.
- Add 1.5 cups of stock to the skillet and stir.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is almost cooked through. Stir periodically.
- Taste rice to see if it's sufficiently cooked. Add more stock to cook longer, if needed. Rice should be moist, but not too wet.
- Add raw prawns and allow to cook another few minutes (only takes 2-3 minutes, otherwise the prawns will get rubbery).
- Add thawed peas.
- Add parsley and artichokes.
- Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
- Serve with lemon wedges