Thank you to my friend Jean for sharing this recipe! Since the flavours improve with time, I like to start this dish in the morning and prep most items. About 1 hour before serving time, I put it all together. I use a paella pan but you can use a large shallow casserole dish instead. Serves 8.
(2 hours of preparation, 30 minutes at 350F)
- 5 cups (more or less) vegetable stock
- 1 “family size” package chicken thighs, about 8 pieces (no bone / skin)
- a small flat of Hot Italian sausage (best if not in casing)
- Optional – 1/2 lbs lobster tails (sliced) or mussels, or scallops (if desired, but not necessary)
- Small Ham steak (1 piece x 1/2” thick) cut into small cubes
- 1/2 lb prawns raw, peeled and rinsed
- 1/2 lbs shrimp raw, peeled and rinsed
- 8 – 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 bell pepper, thickly cubed ( I like to use 1/2 yellow and 1/2 orange for color)
- 1/2 c finely sliced leek, or substitute yellow onion or shallots
- salt / pepper / oregano to taste
- ½ tsp. Saffron
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered (optional)
- 2 cup rice raw
- Garnish with brocolli pieces, or asparagus, and small tomatoes
- Trim any large fat pieces from the chicken thighs. Cut into 1″ cubes.
- In a large deep frying pan, add a bit of vegetable oil and put on medium heat.
- Saute the chicken in batches and brown. The chicken pieces should be almost cooked through. Scoop out the batches and set aside in a bowl.
- While the chicken is browning, heat the oven to 400F. Take the Italian sausage and roll into small balls (less than 1″) and set them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
- Put the sausage in the oven and bake until done…usually about 15 – 20 min.
- Set the pan of sausage aside to cool. Put the sausage on top of the chicken when the all the chicken batches are done. I dump the sausage drippings in the bowl as well. Add the ham on top of the sausage, cover, and refrigerate until assembly time.
- When the chicken batches are done, don’t clean the pan. Add a bit more oil if need be and saute the garlic, leek and bell pepper for just a couple of minutes. Keep them underdone.
- Add the rice, saffron, oregano, salt, and pepper ( I use Club House Spicy Pepper Medley).
- Add enough broth to just cover the rice, about 2-3 cups. Stir the mixture, scraping the chicken bits off the bottom.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 min. The rice will be underdone (still a bit crunchy). Check after 5 minutes to make sure there is sufficient broth. If not, add just a bit more. The rest of the broth will be added before baking. You can then turn off the heat. I leave it covered on the stove until ready to assemble.
- When ready to assemble, heat the oven to 350F and lightly oil the paella pan. Taste the rice mixture for seasonings. I often add more salt. Spread the rice mixture on the bottom of the pan leaving it light and fluffy.
- Take the meat bowl (chicken, sausage, ham) and place the pieces into the rice mixture. I press down on them a bit.
- Sprinkle the frozen peas evenly over the dish. Again, I lightly press them into the rice mixture. If you are using artichokes, press them into the rice mixture too.
- Arrange the prawns and shrimp (and other seafood if using) on top of the rice mixture.
- Dribble vegetable broth over the prawns and shrimp, adding enough that there is about 1/2″ in the bottom of the pan.
- Cover the dish with foil, and bake for about 15 – 20 min. Remove foil and check to ensure there is sufficient moisture. Add a bit more broth if necessary.
- Increase temperature to 400F and return the uncovered pan to the oven. Bake for about 5 – 10 min. Shrimp / prawns should be fully pink.
- Remove the pan and attractively arrange small tomatoes, brocolli / asparagus on top of dish. Return the pan to the oven for about 5 minutes until rice is slightly brown / toasty on top.
- If there are any leftovers, it tastes great the next day.
Thanks to Jean Hamilton November 2005 for the recipe!