Posted by: A Part of the Solution | July 11, 2012

Paella from Leftovers

The real point of paella is that it was poverty food before it was fancy restaurant eats. Paella wasn’t the modern concatenation of expensive delicacies all in one place when peasants ate it and no one else did. It was the last hunk of sausage, a little leftover chicken, the fish that didn’t sell at the market and a handful of shrimp, or some other crustacean.  So read my version, and look through your fridge with fresh eyes, you may be closer to a tasty paella than you think.

Paella from Leftovers

2-6 pieces of leftover cooked chicken (or more if you’re working with wings), strip off the skin and/or any breading or other coating, shred the chicken

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced and mashed


1 tsp salt

1 TBSP fresh thyme, minced or 1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp ground coriander

2-3 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or lemon juice

4 oz bacon or guanciale, cut into dice

12-16 oz spicy sausage, pinched or sliced into 1/2″ pieces

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped small

2 tomatoes, chopped and drained OR 3 TBSP tomato paste

2 cups rice, arborio is nice here, but use what you have–and rinse the rice well in a fine meshed strainer

1/3 cup dry white, or red, wine

3 cups stock, chicken works well here but so would veggie–I used pork, cause I have a freezer full

1/2 tsp saffron, crumbled

1 bay leaf

2-3 small cooked fish, crabs (lobster) or even shrimp–pull off any coatings and shred the flesh if it’s one of the first two items, leave the shrimp whole

2 cups green peas

1 red bell pepper, roasted and skinned and cut into 1/2″ dice

Stir together the garlic and salt, the thyme, the vinegar and oil. Fold the stripped and shredded chicken into the marinade and set aside.

Heat a 5 quart dutch oven on the stove top. Add the bacon or guanciale and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered out and the bacon is crispy. Put the bacon on  a paper towel to drain, but leave the fat in the pan. Cook the sausage next. If it’s the ‘loose’ kind, don’t stir it for the first 3-4 minutes so that the chunks hold their shape. When the sausage pieces are browned, pull them from the pan and let them drain with the bacon–but leave the fat in the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the onion and shredded chicken in the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes or tomato paste and cook another 4-5 minutes until the tomato is darkened somewhat.

Stir in the rice until all pieces are coated with the tomato mixture. Add the wine and stock along with the saffron and the bay leaf. Add in the bacon and sausage. Bring the paella to a boil on the stove top and let it go uncovered for about 3 minutes. Then put a cover on the dutch oven and put the paella in the oven for 15-20 minutes. You want the liquids to be absorbed into the rice.

Pull the paella from the oven. Add the fish, or whatever seafood you have, the peas and then the red pepper. But don’t stir them in, leave the on top in the order given. Put the cover back on the dutch oven and put the paella back in the oven for another ten minutes.

Ta-Dah! It’s ready to serve.


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