Influenced by the Frugal Gourmet's Moroccan chicken recipe as I remember it, I am inspired to convert it over to a paella with a few additions. These are some of my favorite flavors. What is great about paella is that you can prep most everything the night before to make the final steps of preparation very company entertaining friendly. —Sagegreen
olive oil for pan
small chicken breasts or thighs, skin and bone in
red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/2 inch lengths
large yellow onion, chopped
small leek, sliced into rounds
cloves garlic, peeled, minced
heirloom tomatoes, grated, skinned, seeded, and drained
dry white wine
fresh lemon zest
fresh milled pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste
4 1/2 cups
homemade seasoned chicken broth
threads of Spanish saffron
1 1/2 cups
Bomba or other short grain rice
black mussels, cleaned
butternut squash, peeled and cut into long 1/2 inch wide by 6 inch long lengths
parsnip, peeled and cut into thin long lengths
small turnip, peeled and cut into thin strip lengths
small carrot, peeled and coarsely julienned
chick peas, cooked
dried apricots, sliced thin
dried white currants or yellow raisins
hot red pepper flakes
fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and cilantro for garnish
Heat the oil in the paella pan. Brown the chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper very well with the chorizo. Remove to a plate for later. When cool, cut up the chicken into smaller pieces. Cook the red pepper until limp in the paella pan. Remove that to a plate as well.
Add the garlic, chopped onions, and leek to the paella pan and saute until translucent. Add the grated tomato to make the sofrito. Cook until it turns darker. Add the wine and reduce until it reaches a compote consistency for the sofrito. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the chicken stock in a sauce pan. Remove a small quantity, a half a cup or less and parboil the squash, turnip, parsnip and carrot in it. Add the saffron and let stand. Pouring the saffron-infused broth back to the sauce pan, set the parboiled vegetables aside. Make sure the broth is seasoned with enough salt and pepper.
Add the rice to the sofrito base in the paella pan. Distribute the rice evenly in the pan. Arrange all the vegetables, chicken, sausage, mussels, and fruit on top in the pan. Pour 4 1/4 cups of the heated stock on top, reserving the rest for later. Bring to a vigorous simmer on medium high. When the rice reaches the same level as the liquid, about 10 minute, reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to simmer gently rotating the pan if necessary. When the liquid is absorbed test a grain of rice. It should be al dente with a tiny dot in the center. If it is not quite done, then add the remaining broth to the pan and cook a few more minutes.
To make the socarrat, increase the heat to medium high and rotate the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes until the bottom layer of rice caramelizes. If you smell burning, remove the pan from heat right away. Then when the rice has become crusty, remove the pan from heat, cover and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat a small pan. Add the hot pepper flakes. Add the olive oil and stir. Take off the heat and pour into a tiny bowl. Put this harissa in the center of the paella pan. Add some fresh chopped herbs and lemon wedges around the paella dish and invite your company to the table.