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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

food blog:variations on the paella theme

click picture for larger image. i recommend it only if you've already eaten
back to one of the safe zones.... FOOD. what i find helpful in the kitchen is learning one or two "signature" dishes backwards and forwards. then, you can take that knowledge and come up with an almost limitless number of variations, each as good, but different in fundamental ways. that way you never get tired of eating the same old thing. one of the things i've learned to make well is paella, the spanish dish made with short grain rice like bomba or arborio, and saffron. one of my earliest variations was an orange chicken and spanish olive dish that set the stage for later exploration.

i wanted to fix something for dinner tonight that didn't take a lot of work or fussing around. digging through the freezer, i found a 3 pack of apple and chicken sausages. while thinking about what i'd do with them, i spied my 4 serving paella pan hanging on the hook. dingdingding.... most paellas have a seafood component, like clam juice, clams, shrimp, etc. not tonight.

  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 apple and chicken sausages, rounds about 1/4inch thick
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 can (14 oz) chicken stock, plus two ounces water
  • 1 cup arborio or paella rice
  • 4 marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 8 pimento stuffed green olives, halved
  • pepper
  • olive oil

go to the paella link above for general techniques and tips. this will be a bare bones readers digest version, because really, this is so simple, that's all you will need.
take a pinch of saffron, and toss into a small pot over medium heat. when you can smell it, add a couple of ounces of stock and let come to a boil to bloom the saffron. turn off the heat when it starts bubbling and set aside.
in any wide bottom pan like a paella pan, or even a cast iron skillet (works like a champ), cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil. saute the sausage slices at medium, medium high heat until they start to brown. add the onions and saute until the start to get transparent, about 2 minutes. add garlic and stir for a couple of times. add the rice and stir to coat. toast the rice until it gets translucent, adding oil if you think it needs it. you can't go wrong with more olive oil. after toasting the rice for 3 or 4 minutes, add the saffron, a couple of twists on the old pepper mill, stock, olives and hearts. bring to a boil, stirring to make sure all the rice is in the liquid. turn down the heat to low, and leave for 20 minutes.
at this point, i resumed reading my paperback.
after 20 minutes, turn off the heat, and let set for 10 minutes. again, back to the book for another chapter.
fluff and serve.
serves 2 with leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

EDIT: this weeks Carnival of Recipes is up over at Right Wing Nation. Serious comfort food in this weeks edition. check it out.

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Blogger Cookie..... said...

Ah Good. I see ya posted the Paella recipe'...looks and sounds good. I love a good paella....

1/26/07, 8:18 AM  
Blogger Va Beach Herb said...


That orange chicken dish has become one of my favorites. I have a shellfish allergy and cannot eat shrimp, so this allows me to try paella again, thanks.

1/28/07, 4:39 AM  

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