Paella. Can you say that? (Pronounced payeya..literally.) After speculating several times over the course of many restaurant menus.. I often have found myself coming across this dish and really wondering- What is Paella? Never did it really catch my eye as something appealing and I always found myself skipping over it (I usually wont choose rice if other starches- ahem.. potatoes..- are offered.) Enter Supper Club- you will soon be welcomed into my Supper Club, post to come! My sweet friend and her husband hosted My Fireman and I, along with two other couple friends for a lovely dinner. For the very first time- I was introduced to this traditional Spanish dish- and it was DELICIOUS! My fireman ate it up, as well- but he loves rice..so anything that seems appealing will please his bottomless pit of a belly.
After much research of my own as to what exactly goes into this dish, I found there are SO many versions of paella. It contains anything from chicken, pork, shellfish, fish, eel, squid, beans, peas, artichokes or peppers.. but the list goes on and on. One thing I did find was that all paella recipes include: saffron, the spice that turns the rice a wonderful golden color- and is an essential part of the dish. Yeaaa.. I then had to admit that I didn’t really know what saffron was, either. More research. (My OCD/Type A/registered dietitian personality shining through!) I concluded that saffron, a signature spice of Spain, are (very) small threads that are usually crushed and added to a dish; but can alsobe toasted and then crushed; or steeped in a warm liquid like wine, stock, or water before being added to a dish. I also read that it takes more than 10,000 flowers to yield an ounce of dried saffron! No wonder this spice alone (apart from the meat and seafood) was one of the most expensive items on my grocery receipt! Either way- when the dish came together- and all the ingredients became one- oh my. What. A. Meal. After multiple tweaks, additions, and smashing of several recipes together I came up with this.. Paella-with a healthy kick :) Typically paella will include Spanish chorizo, but I switched out the high fat pork sausage with a lean chicken sausage, and cut the amount of oil used in almost half. To me it is totally uneccesary to use 1/4 cup of oil for sauteing vegetables! I will say that I ate this leftover for lunch today and it’s even better today than it was last night. So- have no fear for your little family of four or even just a dinner for two- leftovers are a must with this dish!
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon saffron threads
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
4 links garlic chicken sausage (about 6 ounces), caseing removed
1 (10oz) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1.5 cups uncooked short grain brown rice
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1.5 pounds peeled and deviened shrimp
1 pound small bay scallops
To prepare broth, combine broth and wine in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken sausage, breaking apart with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add garlic, saffron threads, onion and bell pepper to pan, and continue to saute 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, paprika, crushed red pepper, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 6 minutes or until vegetables are soft and sausage is browned. Add rice, tomatoes and tomato paste and blend well, cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth slowly, stirring to incorporate. Bring to a low boil, and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until rice is tender.
Add shimp and scallops to pan, gently stirring into rice mixture. Cook 5-7 minutes until seafood is cooked through. Sprinkle with lemon juice.