Being Asian, I like rice. Being Japanese, I love seafood. Add to that my affinity for smoked meats and it’s no wonder why Paella is one of my favourite foods off all time. Sadly it’s so often relegated to the ranks of mediocrity by pan wielding Cretans manning the stoves at “Spanish” restaurants here in
Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs shelled deveined prawns (and or mussels, octopus, squid, scallops or whatever else is fresh)
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lbs Spanish chorizo picante (not the Mexican kind) cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut in half
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 2 Tbs drained capers
  • 1 1/2 C Valencia rice (Arborio will do in a pinch)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock ( I used half duck stock, half chicken stock)
  • 1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp saffron crushed
  • 1/2 C shelled peas (or frozen if you can’t find fresh ones)
  • 4 stalks asparagus cut on the bias

Instructions:

  1. Marinate the prawns in some olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper about 30 minutes before starting the rest of the paella.
  2. In a chef’s pan (or other large flat pan with a lid), fry the chorizo. There should be enough fat in the Chorizo so that you don’t need to add any oil, but if you don’t see any fat rendering out after a minute, add some olive oil. When the chorizo is nice and brown and most of the fat has rendered out, transfer it to a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and brown on both sides in the pan the Chorizo came from. Transfer the chicken to the plate with the chorizo.
  4. If there is more than 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan, use a paper towel to soak the excess up. Add the onions and bell peppers and fry until they are soft and starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and cumin and fry until the garlic is fragrant (another minute or two).
  5. Add the tomatoes and capers and cook until the tomatoes are soft. Add the rice and stir to coat then add the Chorizo, chicken, saffron, stock and vinegar. Bring to a boil then cover and turn the heat down to medium low (you should see a steady stream of steam escaping).
  6. After 20 minutes, lay the shrimp on top of the rice and sprinkle the peas and asparagus on top. Cover and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the rice and shrimp are cooked.
  7. Serve immediately, scraping up the soccarat that forms at the bottom. Sprinkle with some parsley serve with some lemon wedges for squeezing.