Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Arroz con Pollo an easy substitute for paella

So I thought I knew what paella was and that I had eaten and enjoyed it, but until last month, I apparently had never really had paella.

Now this is paella. I apologize that there's nothing in the photo to show you how incredibly huge this dish was, but realizing that all of those wedges on the corners are lemons oughtta help!

Bryan and I indulged in this deliciousness last month at one of the Thursday Night Chef's Dinners at The Wandering Cafe, a catering company in our neighborhood that swings its doors open for special parties throughout the year. You can read more about all of the other delicious courses we ate that night on a blog post I wrote for Maple Leaf Life.

As for the paella, after watching chef and owner Kristine Pottle slaving over her giant skillet for at least an hour, I'm not sure I want to follow in her footsteps. After browning the meats (which included chorizo, gigantic and delicious shrimp, and what Bryan called the best chicken he'd ever had), she slowly poured ladle after ladle of broth into the rice, which I know I do for risotto, but it's hard enough when I'm just using a regular stockpot rather than a giant skillet!

Needless to say, I found a shortcut tonight that though not even half as good as Kristine's paella, is sufficient for Bryan and me and doesn't require me to buy a paella pan and other "must-have" accessories.

Arroz con Pollo from Greg Atkinson's "West Coast Cooking." Similar to the paella, I started by browning the sausage (I used spicy Italian sausage because good chorizo is so hard to find!), then browning the chicken. Onions came next, then the rice mixed with smoked spicy paprika, diced canned tomatoes and beer(!). Instead of pouring ladle after ladle of broth into it like Kristine did for the paella, I just threw the meat back in and let it cook for 35 minutes. Green peas on top are the finishing touch (and no, Bryan did not tell me that these chicken thighs were better than Kristine's!).

Love this book.

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