Paella will probably always be associated with seafood but there is an animal called mixed paella which can contain no seafood at all. This paella with chicken and chorizo has bell peppers, tomatoes, paprika and black olives.
What qualifies a rice dish as paella anyway? Seriously, I don’t know. Part of me says it’s the flavors and manner of cooking. Paella is a Spanish (origin: Valencia) rice casserole; if a rice casserole is cooked without Spanish ingredients and flavors, then, it should probably be referred to by another time.
If you notice the pan in which I cooked the paella, you might be wondering… is it paella if it wasn’t cook in a paellera? According to the Royal Spanish Academy, paella can refer to the rice dish and / OR the pan in which it is cooked. So, yes, it is still paella.
- 8 to 10 chicken drumsticks (thighs will work too)
- paprika (smoked or sweet; either will work)
- ¼ cup olive oil (doesn't have to be extra virgin)
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped tomato
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 bell peppers, diced (see tip)
- 100 grams Spanish chorizo (the kind packed with paprika is ideal), sliced into rings
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups (you may need more) simmering chicken broth, preferably homemade
- 2 tablespoons sliced olives (black or green; either will work)
- Pat the chicken dry. Place in a bowl and add a tablespoon of salt, half teaspoon of pepper and half a teaspoon of paprika. Mix. Cover and let sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Brown the chicken pieces, rolling them in the oil for even coloring. You are just searing them at this point, not cooking them through. Once browned, lift and transfer to a plate.
- Take your paellera (or use a wide shallow pan with a flat bottom) and pour in about two tablespoons of the oil in which the chicken was browned.
- Saute the onion, tomato, garlic and bell peppers. Add the sliced chorizo. Continue sauteeing for another half a minute.
- Add the rice to the pan. Stir to coat each grain with oil. Stir in a teaspoonful of paprika.
- Spread the rice and vegetables evenly on the bottom of the pan.
- Arrange the browned chicken on top of the rice.
- Pour in the simmering broth. If your broth is unseasoned or under-seasoned, you will need to add more salt and pepper at this point. Go easy; you can always add more but you cannot remove excess seasoning.
- Cover the pan tightly and let everything cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Check the rice; if still undercooked, pour in another quarter cup or so of broth.
- Scatter the sliced olives over the chicken and rice.
- Cover the pan once more and continue cooking for another 10 minutes to allow a good crust to form on the bottom.
- Serve the paella with chicken and chorizo at once.