Norma Chikiamco

CHICKEN PAELLA

Chicken Paella
by Norma Chikiamco
6 – 8 Servings

¼                     cup olive oil, divided
2                      chorizo sausages, sliced diagonally into pieces ½ -inch thick
6 – 8                chicken thighs or legs, deboned
Salt
1                      large tomato, grated or finely chopped
1                      medium onion, minced
1                      teaspoon paprika
3                      cups uncooked white, short grain rice (preferably Arborio)
Few saffron threads
6                      cups warm chicken or beef broth
1                      cup green peas (thawed, if frozen)
1                      large green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise about ½-inch thick
1                      large red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise about ½-inch thick
2                      hard-boiled eggs, sliced vertically
1-2                   lemons, sliced into wedges (for serving)

In a paellera or a large pan, pour in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat to medium-low heat. Sauté the sliced chorizo sausages for about 1 minute on each side.  With a slotted spoon remove sausages from the pan and set aside. Note: The oil in the pan will turn orange in color because of the paprika in the chorizo.

In the same pan, pour in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Raise heat to medium.  Season chicken thighs with salt then sauté them in the oil just until brown.  Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add tomatoes to pan and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add onion and sauté for 1 more minute.  Stir in paprika and let cook for a few seconds.  Immediately add the rice and stir to coat the rice grains evenly with the oil in the pan.  With the back of a large spoon, distribute the large grains evenly in the pan. Season with salt.

Dissolve the saffron threads in the warm broth.  Pour broth into the pan. Add the browned chicken and bring the whole mixture to a boil.  Lower heat and let cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. The rice should gradually absorb the liquid.  Before the liquid gets completely absorbed, add the green peas and the red and green peppers.  Continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed and rice and chicken are fully cooked, around 5 to10 more minutes.  If you want to have some toasty rice at the bottom (what we call “tutong” in Tagalog),  turn up heat during the last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking.

Just before serving top the paella with the cooked chorizo and the sliced hard-boiled eggs.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Tips:

If you want to add seafood such as prawns and squid, cook them separately then add to the paella when rice is almost cooked.  This is to prevent overcooking the prawns and squid which would make them tough.
For a quick chicken or beef broth:  Add 2 cubes beef or chicken broth cube to 6 cups water and let boil until broth cubes are completely dissolved.
You may also add asparagus spears and mushrooms.  Add them to the rice at the same time you add the green peas and the bell peppers.

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