Chicken & Seafood Paella

Even though it wasn't fancy, it was one of the tastiest things I've made in the past few weeks - a real comfort food feel - the kind of food that makes you want to curl your toes in a shaggy carpet.

Part of my experience on many trips, is to visit local grocery stores.  Nothing like getting to know the locals by what they eat and where they shop.

We were in Menorca, Spain a couple of summers ago and the seafood there was just phenomenal!  We ended up bringing home some canned seafood (not expecting much) and I was going through my pantry for some Food Cupboard donations when I rediscovered them.  I checked the expiration date and still had a few months, but I had been having a hankering (is that even a word?) for some seafood paella (after watching the Paella episode of Throwdown).  I found a couple of cans of razor clams (I'll save those for next time), some garlic stuffed squid, some preserved mussels and a can of octopus I brought back from Greece.  Next I had to see what was in the fridge to complete my masterpiece.

I had some chicken legs, shallots, and a nice piece of andouille sausage.  For the green component I have a big box of edamame pods in the freezer - I thawed and shelled these (I ABHOR green peas so you will never find them in my kitchen...goes back many years, almost got grounded once because of them and asked not to return to a babysitter's house on another occasion...).

I chopped the legs in half and saved the little half for stock another day.  I browned the legs in some olive oil, then removed from the pan.  Then sauteed the andouille sausage and removed.  In the remaining oil I sauteed the shallots and garlic.  When deliciously translucent, I added some fresh chopped thyme, some strands of saffron and some chicken stock.  Once boiling, I added the meat back and sprinkled the rice over the whole dish.

Now - before any of you paella purists get on my case, I am departing from the traditional method here.  I actually prefer paella with long grain rice as I like the texture - I find arborio rice a little sticky, even when rinsed before - just a personal thing.  I like my rice fluffy and the grains separate and whole.  I then covered my cast iron pan with some heavy tin foil and put it in the oven at 350F 20 minutes.  Took it out, then added the seafood and edamame - covered again and finished in the oven another 10 minutes.

It was so delicious.  Wish you could have smelled it.  The seafood added a nice richness and depth to the dish.  I would have taken a picture right then, as it came steaming out of the oven, but my greediness wouldn't let me wait and before I knew it, I was dishing up, grinding black pepper and digging in before I realized what was happening.  I had a little food blackout - sorry.  The picture here is the leftovers I had at work the next day - didn't have the Nikon at work, but the little Kodak did a pretty good job.   For next time I will use chicken thighs, double the sausage, double the seafood and add some lobster.  Can't wait!!

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