A very popular New Year's Eve dish at our home. In Uruguay, it's so popular that there are GIANT paella pans in many supermarkets in December. You can buy paella by the pound!
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
8 chicken thighs, cut into thirds
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 pound chorizo, casing removed and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
1 large (or 2 small) red bell peppers, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (without stems) or 1/2 dried
2 cups white rice
1 quart chicken broth
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (fairly large ones are best)
24 mussels, scrubbed and debearded (The "beard" is the bunch of hair-like fibers that sprouts out from the shell.)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Lemon or lime wedges
Crusty, bread for passing
- Wash chicken thighs in water and pat dry. Put chicken thighs in a bowl - salt and pepper them. Preheat a very wide and deep skillet, a large wok, or paella pan, over medium high heat. (You can use a Dutch oven in a pinch or deep soup pot in a pinch.) Add olive oil; brown and sear chicken on both sides - about 4 minutes per side. Season with salt, pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan, then toss in the slices of chorizo, stirring and cooking for about 2 -3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add in the chopped onion, celery, and peppers. Cook until vegetables are softened.
- Add garlic and saffron threads, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, thyme, and rice to the pan. Stir and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add cooked chicken thighs. Pour in the chicken stock and bring all to a boil. Cover pan, reduce to low heat and simmer for about 10 -15 minutes.
- Add peeled and deveined shrimp, mussels, lemon zest, and thawed green peas, pushing them into the cooked rice mixture. Cover and cook until the mussels begin to open and the shrimp turns a pinkish color - about 5 more minutes.
- Remove lid and discard bay leaves and any mussels that refused to open.
- Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.
- Serve hot with French bread.