We outside Spain think of this dish as Spain’s national dish, but Spaniards think of it as a regional dish from Valencia. The only problem with this dish is that every time I cook it, there isn’t much left for left-over. There is an old restaurant here in Manhattan called Sevilla, and they have a wonderful paella, which I eat once or twice a year when I dine there. Our version published here was taken from America’s Test Kitchen, and to me it tastes very similar to that of the restaurant Sevilla. Someone told me on FaceBook that the Valencian version of this dish is the best one, but judging from what I learned about it on Wikipedia, I wasn’t so sure.
1 lb boneless chicken thighs
1 dozen mussels
1 lb extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 oz), drained and minced
9 garlic cloves, minced
1 roasted bell pepper, cut in stripes
10 oz Spanish chorizo, sliced 1/4 inch on the bias
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
3 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
salt and black pepper to taste
lemon wedges for serving
HOW TO MAKE IT
Season chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and set aside. Combine shrimp, a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
In a Dutch oven, roast pepper strips on a little oil for 4 minutes, over medium-high heat. Transfer strips to a plate and set aside.
In the same Dutch oven, add one teaspoon oil and brown chicken thighs, for three minutes on each side. Transfer thighs to a plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium and cook chorizo for 5 minutes. Add chorizo to the chicken thighs and set aside.
Add two tablespoons oil to Dutch oven and cook onion for three minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add tomato dices and cook for three more minutes. Add rice and cook for two more minutes. Add wine, saffron, chicken broth, bay leaf, and 1 pinch salt, chorizo and chicken thighs to pot and bring to a boil. Cover pot and transfer it to oven, previously set to 350 ºF, rack adjusted to lower-middle position. Cook for 15 minutes.
Remove pot from oven, add muscles, shrimp, pepper strips and peas over top. See how we arranged it in our picture. Return pot to oven, covered, for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and place pot on stove on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Discard unopened muscles and bay leaf.
Serve with lemon wedges.
DELICIOUS RECIPE by Lucas Eller, New York