This paella gets a boost of flavor from some familiar Spanish ingredients: sherry, saffron, green olives, and smoked paprika. Crushing the green olives beforehand allows their briny juices to season the rice. Cubes of boneless, skinless thighs can be substituted for the whole variety used here; you’ll just need to increase the oil amount to 3 tablespoons during the browning stage, to make up for the lack of chicken fat that normally renders out of the skin. —Jennifer Clair
Preheat the oven to 375° F. In a medium saucepan, combine the broth and saffron threads, if using. Bring to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Place the olives on a cutting board, and using the flat of your palm, crush them lightly; remove the pit if they have them, and cut in half if particularly large. Set aside in a large bowl.
In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken skin with salt and place skin-side down in the hot oil. Cook until the skin is golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Turn and cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Transfer the chicken to the bowl with the olives.
To the hot pan, add the onion and peppers and cook until soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add the rice, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice kernels are translucent and the spices are very aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the sherry and cook until it is absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, the infused broth, and reserved olives and chicken (make sure the chicken skin is face up). Bring to a boil and transfer the pan to the oven.
Bake until the rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the peas during the last few minutes of cooking.
Let the paella rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
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