College Cookbook: Backyard paella

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Photo credit: Victoria Petersen

This Spanish dish is vibrant, filling and perfect for big groups. My friends and I cooked this dish to kick off backyard-barbecue season. Inherently, this dish is expensive with the use of saffron and fresh seafood, but if each friend provides a couple ingredients, together you can make an amazing meal. We set up a fire in the fire pit, placed a large cast-iron skillet over the fire and cooked the paella from there. This is a traditional recipe, feel free to change the proteins. We added chopped pancetta to our recipe, which gave it a boost of flavor.

Ingredients:

Herbs

1 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

Paella and Protein

1 cup water

1 teaspoon saffron threads

3 (16-ounce) cans chicken broth

8 unpeeled jumbo shrimp (about 1/2 pound)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 skinned, boned chicken thighs, cut in half

2 links Spanish chorizo sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces)

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

3 large garlic cloves, minced

3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice

1 cup frozen green peas

8 mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

Prepare herb blend by combining all the herb ingredients. Set mixture aside.

Combine water, oil, saffron and broth in a large cast-iron skillet and bring to simmer, keep warm over medium heat.

Add chicken, sausage and shrimp. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion and bell pepper, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, paprika and three garlic cloves. Let cook for about three minutes.

Add rice; cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in herb blend. Bring to a low boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mussels to pan, nestling them into rice mixture.

Cook for minutes or until mussel shells open. Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture and cook five minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.