Paella is one dish my entire family loves and it's awesome enough to serve on a special occasion. Unlike traditional paella, this version is assembled at the end rather than cooked all together. That means you can, for instance, set aside a portion without shrimp if someone is allergic, or without sausage if someone doesn't eat pork. I also love it because I can cook the ingredients ahead then just make the rice and assemble it right before dinner. I love an impressive, low stress meal!
The first thing I make is lemon garlic mixture that will flavor the rice when it's done. In my mini chopper, I whirl together:
The zest of a lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
12 garlic cloves
salt & pepper
This goes into tupperware and waits in the fridge for assembly.
This is a fresh chorizo and a fresh andouille sausage removed from their casings, crumbled and browned.
Smoked andouille sausage links sliced and browned.
Red and yellow peppers sliced, seeded, splashed with red wine vinegar and olive oil then roasted for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Once they're cool enough to handle, I peel the skin off.
Sea scallops patted dry and sauteed in a little olive oil just 2 minutes per side. They were really expensive this week so I cut them in half.
Shrimp peeled, deveined and sauteed in a little olive oil. I'm always careful not to overcook shrimp. They just take a minute or two per side.
So... everything above this point can be done ahead of time. I just gently reheat each component in the microwave right before I stir everything into the rice and lay the chicken thighs on top for serving. To do the chicken thighs, brown both sides in a little olive oil and butter. Put them skin side up on a baking pan, season with salt and pepper then put them in the oven at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on how big they are. They come out crispy and delicious.
Here's what goes into the rice:
3 cups of long grain rice sauteed in a little butter
6 cups of chicken stock
A pinch of saffron
salt and pepper to taste
Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes, toss 1 cup of frozen peas in during the last 3 minutes of cooking
You can also add steamed clams, mussels, lobster, whatever your heart desires and your pocketbook can handle.