Quick and Easy Paella

I had the privilege of making paella, a signature Spanish dish, when I visited Spain in July.  I learned how to cook the dish from Maruchi, a chef I met in Spain.  Maruchi grew all of her own vegetables and even raised her own livestock!  I was super impressed with how healthy her cooking was!  Unfortunately, paella can be a tricky dish to prepare because it calls for a lot of ingredients and is time-consuming.  Lucky for you, I developed a super quick and simple mock recipe so everyone can get a taste of authentic Spanish cooking!

Ingredients 

  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 10-12 large frozen deveined shrimp (with skin on)
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 cups fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp saffron*
  • 5-6 long strands of parsley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil

*Saffron can be very expensive.  A cheaper substitute is turmeric. This spice is in the ginger family and provides a different, less earthy taste. Though it’s a little less authentic it’s still yummy and will give the dish the pretty orange color. 

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Directions 

  • Heat olive oil in a frying pan (with lid) over medium heat
  • Add onions and cook until translucent
  • Add garlic and cook for 2-3min
  • Add chicken and cook until light brown
  • Add peppers and cook with chicken for ~5 min (or until chicken is cooked through)
  • Add rice into pan and cook for 3-5 min or until all liquid is soaked up. Stir frequently.
  • Place frozen shrimp in a bowl of warm water and soak until thawed
  • While shrimp is thawing, boil water in a small sauce pan
  • Add shrimp and cook ~1 min (or until light pink)
  • Spoon shrimp into a bowl but save the water
  • Add chicken broth and 1 1/2 cup of shrimp water to the main sauce pan
  • Add shrimp, saffron, salt, and parsley to the frying pan (with rice, chicken and veggies) and close lid
  • Cook 15-20 min or until liquid is completely dissolved and rice is tender

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