Paella! Paella!

If you haven’t already guessed it, today’s tasty sensation is paella! (pronounced guide:  pie (as in the delicious pastry) – eh (as in “its freezing out eh?”) ah ( as in the noise that comes out after eating a great meal) ) (pie-eh-ah)

This tasty Spanish rice dish, is perfect for starving students because it makes a LOT for less.  Originally named for the large clay dish it was cooked it, paella has been westernized to accommodate North American kitchens.  I first discovered this tasty dish when I was traveling through Spain with my sister and parents a few years ago.

My first memory of paella is this large dish arriving in front of all us and looking down in horror and seeing the world’s largest prawn resting on top of the dish; its 30-centimeter- long antenna weaving throughout the dish.  Now I’ll admit right now I am not the biggest fan of seafood but I’ll try most things without too much hesitation, but when this prawn looked up with its dark beady eyes, I was definitely turned off.

Thankfully, later on during the trip I was exposed to some delicious (and beady-eyed prawn free) versions of the dish.  Most notably a fantastic rabbit and chorizo version which I would love to repeat some day.

A tasty Spanish market that my family and I visited a few years ago

Some of the great things about this recipe is the amount of food it makes and how versatile it is.  If you don’t have sausage don’t worry about it.  Having some form of protein is important but you can really customize it as you please.

Another great aspect of recipe is the use of turmeric.  Paella is traditionally made with saffron, which is one of the most expensive spices out there.  Turmeric gives the dish the rich yellow colour that saffron would supply without the price.  Another neat thing is, for those of you that are Celiac, just replace the sausage with gluten-free sausage and you are good to go!

One good thing to know is if your spice cabinet less complete then it should be, buy spices in bulk.  Its amazing how much cheaper spices are when you buy them in bulk.  Looking for good bulk spice locals here in Ottawa? Check out your local bulk barn or better yet check out one of the Herb & Spice locations around town.

One final tip for this recipe, make sure you give the dish a stir or two when you are cooking the rice, this is just to make sure that the rice doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.

Paella

  • 2 Hot Italian sausages
  • 1 Large chicken breast
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes – juice reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  1. Slice the sausage up and then fry them in a large saucepan.  Remove from pan and remove casing
  2. slice the chicken into thin strips and fry them in the same saucepan. Remove from pan
  3. Saute onion, green pepper and garlic for 5 minutes
  4. Stir in uncooked rice, spices, and tomato and cook for 1 minute
  5. Mix in tomato juice, chicken and broth  and cook for 20 minutes
  6. Mix in sausage and cook for 5 more minutes
  7. Eat and enjoy!
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