I’ve been wanting to learn paella for some time now – and for some reason always managed to talk myself out of it.  “Oh, it takes too long, it’s too difficult, etc etc”

Which really?  Load of bunk.  If you can figure out risotto and/or rice pilaf – you can do paella.  This version is chicken-only, as I was making it for a party that included some guests who kept kosher.  Me, I’d totally add shrimp and maybe some sausage, if I were doing it myself. =)

The goods:

6 to 6.5 cups chicken stock

saffron threads, a good pinch

2.5 ish pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 large red pepper, seeded and diced

1 large green pepper, seeded and diced

1 large yellow onion, seeded and diced

great whopping tablespoon minced garlic (or more, hey, I’m not going to judge)

olive oil

3 cups short-grain rice (I actually used arborio – I happened to have it on hand so why not?)

10oz bag frozen peas

salt, pepper to taste

ground chipotle powder (optional)

The method:

Get your stock simmering.  Drop in your saffron.  Let it simmer.

Meanwhile, you’ll need your biggest skillet or your trusty wok.  Heat up your olive oil – 3 or 4 glugs around the pan should do it.

Once your oil is barely shimmery, throw in your chicken chunks.  Saute on high until no visible pink bits remain.  Ideally you’d even get a nice sear going on, but with my wok, that just wasn’t going to happen.  Remove your partially cooked chicken to a clean bowl.

Toss in your onions and peppers.  Saute for about a minute, then drop in your garlic.  Saute a few more minutes until onions are translucent. (I took them to “almost starting to caramelize” because I really wanted that rich, bold flavor to come out)

Add rice, stir until coated.  (And here, I very nearly went on risotto auto-pilot.  I heated the rice until they were half translucent.  Which, hey, no worries.  But you don’t really have to do this)

Add stock.  Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.  I should note here that this just about FILLED my wok, so stir carefully, lest you want to be picking paella bits off your stove for the next several hours.

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Add chicken and peas.

Drop the heat to a simmer, cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point, you’re done.  If you want to dry it out a little/get some nice crust action going on, continue by:

Transfer paella to sprayed casserole dish (It will fill a 9×13 dish; plan accordingly)

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, uncovered.

Remove from oven, tent with foil, let rest for another 10 minutes.

Et voila!  Garnish with lemon wedges, chopped parsley, or if you’re me, some slightly obscene amount of hot sauce.