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If you’ve ever been to a Spanish or tapas restaurants, you’ve probably come across that beautiful saffron-infused, one-pot rice dish, paella. Paella originates from the Valencia region of Spain on the country’s east coast. There are three basic variations of this regional favorite: paella valenciana, characterized by beans and land critters, like snails, rabbit and chicken, seafood paella, and mixed paella.
According to Wikipedia, the word paella is a Catalan word that originates from the Old French word paelle, which means pan. In fact, paella is not just the food preparation, but also the pan in which the paella is cooked. A paella pan is a wide, flat pan around 2-in. deep. Since paella pans aren’t standard in American kitchens, the recipe featured here can be made in a large stainless steel skillet instead.
If you like paella, you’re going to love this easy-to-make mixed paella. Chicken and smoked sausage are always a great combination, and andouille sausage in particular adds depth of flavor and heat. The sugar snap peas added toward the end of cooking are what really give this paella character. The lovely crunch of the snap peas mixed with the soft texture of the rice and the chew of the chicken and sausage makes this paella a real fiesta for your mouth.
Quick Chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas
This recipe, adapted from Ivy Manning, appeared in the April 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. I substituted easy-to-find andouille sausage for the Spanish chorizo the recipe called for. I also added a minced serrano for a little kick. Smoked paprika can be found in some supermarkets, specialty food stores or online at thespicehouse.com. For a print copy of this recipe, click here.
½ cup dry white wine
½ tsp. saffron threads
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 large chicken thighs (about 2.5 lb)
8 (oz.) smoked sausage or Andouille sausage, cut into ½-in. chunks
1 Tbs. olive oil
1½ c. chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 serrano, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups long-grain rice
2 c. low-salt chicken broth
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
¼ cup chopped roasted red peppers from jar
2½ c. sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 8 ounces)
Prepare and cook chicken. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix white wine and saffron threads in small measuring cup; set aside. Combine salt, smoked paprika, and black pepper in small bowl; rub spice mixture all over chicken thighs. Heat heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and sauté until fat begins to render and sausage browns, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer sausage to large plate. Add olive oil to skillet. Add chicken thighs to skillet and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate with sausage.
Add rice, flavorings, and bake. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and serrano and stir 30 seconds. Add long-grain rice and stir to coat. Add wine-saffron mixture and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add chicken broth, tomatoes with juice, and roasted red peppers. Bring to simmer. Stir in browned sausage. Place chicken thighs, skin side up, atop mixture in skillet. Cover skillet tightly with foil, then cover skillet with lid. Bake paella until rice is almost tender, about 25 minutes.
Add snap peas and finish baking. Transfer chicken to plate. Stir rice; season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter snap peas over. Return chicken to skillet, nestling into rice. Cover with foil and lid. Bake until snap peas are crisp-tender, rice is tender, and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.