Every accomplished cook knows the most essential ingredient in any dish is love. It was with love,a sense of legacy, and admiration that I prepared authentic Spanish Paella for the first time this spring.
My close sister/friend Charlotte was an exceptional gourmet cook. She introduced me to home cooking on a gourmet level when I was in my early twenties, as well as inspired my love for preparing a vast variety of international cuisines.
I never watched her prepare, nor requested the recipe for her exquisite Paella. Frankly, who could make it better than she could? I thought she would always be around whenever I wanted the dish or decided to try my chops at preparing it.
Sadly Charlotte passed away suddenly last fall. Her culinary legacy left with her, with the exception of what remained on my palate and in my heart.
I prepared to make Charlotte’s Paella by opening my heart, releasing all my love for her in this tribute dish.
Pour a glass of wine, raise a toast to her, and release your love to begin this journey.
3 tbsp good quality olive oil
6 boneless chicken thighs cut into 1” pieces
7 oz. Authentico Spanish Chorizo cut in 1” pieces *
½ tsp. salt or to taste
¼ tsp.black pepper
1 large sweet onion chopped
6 cloves of garlic minced
1 ½ cups arborio paella rice*
14 oz. diced fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika*
1 tsp Spanish saffron*
1 ½ cups frozen green peas thawed
1 lb. large shrimp deveined tail on
1 lb.mussels scrubbed and soaked
1 lb.uniformly small clams scrubbed and soaked
- In a large paella pan*or large heavy wok heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add diced chicken and sausage, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until chicken is no longer pink.
- Move chicken to one side of the pan and add chopped onion. Cook onion until translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the rice and fire-roasted tomatoes. Let the rice cook in the tomatoes for 5 minutes. The rice should begin to brown on the bottom.
- Add the broth, hot sauce, paprika, saffron and season with more salt and pepper if needed.Stir everything together and cover.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Please note: The rice will not be completely cooked yet.
- Stir ingredients around and reduce heat to low.
- Add the seafood, arrange mussels, and clams towards the center of the pan. Place shrimp towards the outer area. Scatter green peas over the entire area and cover.
- Cook for another 15 minutes or until mussels and clams are fully open.
*These ingredients can be purchased online at Amazon.
– Janis Merrill-Gipson,
Janis is a self-proclaimed domestic diva, living in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Janis is a chef, who loves to cook, an interior decorator, an art collector, a jazz fan, and an avid reader. She believes there are many layers and components that comprise living an enriched life. And Janis is here to share tips.