After an intense month of joy and heartache, Spain has own the 2010 world cup. On that eventful Sunday, my husband and I planned our day around the event. Spain was our second choice after the US didn't make it into the final group of sixteen. Isn't that the magic of the game? That after the crushing loss from the US departure, all of our hopes were revived with Spain in the final. That two people with no real ties to that country (except my diluted Spanish heritage, and our love of spanish food, music, and culture) would find so much happiness in a single goal, to me, is part of the magic of the game. And not just us; among our freinds everyone was interested in the final match. One person even threatened to "unfriend" me on Facebook because of my exuberant status update after the win. Needless to say, she's a Netherlands fan, and of course was only joking... I think.
In honor of the event, I made this seafood and chicken paella. This is my basic go-to recipe for paella but this was the first time that I've made it in my new paella pan from Kitchen Window in Uptown Minneapolis. And what a difference it makes, especially in terms of a reduction in cooking time. And that chewy layer of rice at the bottom of the pan; worth every cent!
Chicken and Shrimp Paella
Serves 3 to 4
2 oz prosciutto
2 to 4 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed*1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1 1/2 cup long grain white rice
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
8 to 10 raw shrimp, with tails on
1. In a large pot or paella pan over medium heat, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the prosciutto until crispy. Remove and add the chicken. Cook for about 15 minutes until evenly browned. Remove and add the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Saute the onion, garlic, and peppers for another 8 to 10 minutes until they have browned on the edges.
2. Add the rice and saffron threads. Stir thoroughly until the rice becomes glossy and is coated nicely by the onion mixture. Pour 2 1/2 cups chicken broth over the rice and stir. It takes about another 20 minutes for the rice to cook. Stir occasionally and add more chicken broth or hot water (up to 1 cup more) if needed.
3. Once the rice has cooked, add the raw shrimp. Stir and allow shrimp to cook for another 3 or four minutes until pink throughout. Evenly layer the cooked chicken, tomatoes, peas, and crunchy prosciutto on the top before serving.
*I always like to season chicken for recipes like this, i.e. recipes where the chicken is just part of the main dish. It's a technique I've learnt from growing up in Trinidad. So here, I seasoned the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, one crushed garlic clove and the leaves of one sprig of thyme and a teaspoon of paprika.
Also, you would notice that I did not add salt to the recipe above and that is because the chicken broth already has a lot of sodium. Of course, if you find you need more salt, go right ahead and add to taste.