For those of you who love one-pot rice recipes, this dish has a little bit of everything!
This is my home-cooked version of chicken, shrimp and rice cooked over a wood fire. This is a fairly easy way to learn on how to prepare a paella-style dish. There are many variations, some simple and others quite elaborate. The directions below are for stovetop cooking, but if you get the chance to use your outdoor grill, you should try it.
In my opinion, an electric stove top, which is what I have, is not the best for large pans like a paella pan. An outdoor grill or even a gas stove top works much better. As a matter of fact, you could even finish cooking the dish in the oven if you wanted to. I will be trying that next time I prepare it. I will say that the wood fire method does require you to more attentive to the whole cooking process. You must make sure the fire is burning evenly and is always hot enough.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience for me. My husband and I really enjoy grilling and cooking together any chance that we get. I am really hoping down the line, he will surprise me with a home cooked meal from all the tips he has picked up from hanging out with me. Now who is daydreaming??
Season the chicken, to taste, with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder, set aside. For the shrimp, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, set aside.
Preheat 4 tablespoons of olive oil to medium in a large paella style pan for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes per side. Remove and transfer onto plate, cover loosely and set aside.
Turn heat up slightly and add chicken pieces. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until nicely browned.
Add the onions, garlic, bell pepper and chile peppers if using and cook for 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and chorizo and cook for another few minutes or until tomatoes start to break down.
Add in the broth, white wine, bouillon granules, saffron and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and taste for salt. Add another pinch of smoked paprika and pepper. Add the rice in and gently stir it in so it’s covered with broth. Add the chicken pieces back in. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until 3/4 of the liquid is reduced.
Add the shrimp back in on top of rice and gently push down into simmering broth. If using carrots or peas, spread them out evenly over the top. Continue cooking until all of the liquid is absorbed. If it’s not quite done, add a little more broth or white wine around the pan. The heat varies on all stove tops and I would suggest rotating the pan every now and then for more even cooking. The rice in the center of the pan will tend to stick and form a crust. Not to worry! This is a good thing when preparing paella, trust me, it’s quite tasty.
Remove from heat and cover with foil paper. Let set for 6 to 8 minutes to finish steaming. Before serving, fluff with fork, squeeze on juice of half a lemon and garnish with parsley or cilantro.
Serve with more lemon wedges, hot sauce and crusty bread like crostini.
Partially cooking the shrimp ahead of time will ensure that it is cooked all the way through. It is added toward the end of the cooking time, so it is just right and not overcooked. If you wanted to finish cooking in the oven, bring the dish to a simmer, cover with foil and cook in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until most of the broth is absorbed. Remove foil, add shrimp. Cover loosely and return to oven for another 8 to 10 minutes or until shrimp is fully cooked.
While cooking the rice, you may have to gently move it from the outer edges in. I found that the rice on the outside edge was not cooking as quickly and on the inside. Don’t stir it too much or the rice will release too much starch and become mushy.