Sunday, April 3, 2016

Plan B: Spanish Inspired Paella Stew

Over rice for Steve

Tested and updated February 3, 2018

My plan was to make paella yesterday, but frankly I got lazy and we had cheese and crackers while watching Final Four basketball instead. And today I had a tennis match planned for the late afternoon, so making the somewhat time intensive dish really was not in the cards.

Soooo - my solution? A Spanish inspired stew that I could braise in the oven for a couple of hours in the morning and then heat up in the evening when it was time for dinner.
Over spinach for me

The resulting one-pot Sunday dinner pretty darned good, if I say so myself. In fact, according to Steve, this was one of the best dishes I've ever dreamed up.

Here's how I did it:

Serves 6

Paella Inspired Stew
Comfort food takes a detour to Spain in this low and slow cooked stew, served over rice. 
Serves 8

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 Spanish or Portuguese chorizo sausage links (or Italian if unavailable - just not Mexican chorizo)
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 28 oz can whole Italian style tomatoes 
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and left whole
  • 2 TBS smoked Spanish paprika, divided
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 3 dried bay leaves 
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

For serving:  Rice cooked with chicken broth rather than water, and a pinch of saffron, if you have it. If you don’t and you really want yellow rice, you can aways add a 1/4 tsp of turmeric.  I’ll never tell!

  • Heat oven to 275 degrees
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and 2 TBS of the smoked Spanish paprika
  • Heat a Dutch over a medium flame and brown the chicken in two batches; remove and keep warm on a plate covered with foil
  • Add the sausage, and brown it whole. Remove, let it cool slightly and slice into bite size pieces. (A serrated knife works well) It will not be cooked through. Add to the chicken and keep warm. 
  • Drop the diced onion to the pot and sauté until soft before adding the final TBS of paprika and the tomato paste. Stir to combine and heat through. This will wake up the tomato paste and boost the flavor of the dish.
  • Next add the chicken and sausage back to the pot along with the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce, and chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes, stir to combine and bring to a low boil. 
  • Cover and place in the oven to braise, low and slow for 2 hours.

At the end of 2 hours, remove the lid and cook another 20 minutes to reduce a tad.  At this point you can cool and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
  • When you are ready to serve, skim off any fat (I lay a paper towel on the surface and lift it away), add the brown sugar and heat until bubbly. Then drop the heat down to Low, add the frozen peas and the shrimp, cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the shrimp is just done. 
  • Remove the bay leaves and garlic cloves, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed,  and stir in the balsamic vinegar right before serving over rice.