Recently, we had a friend stay with us for a few days. I love having company, it gives me a larger audience to cook for and new palates to challenge. I wanted to make something that would be a little exotic without scaring off anyone who isn’t quite as adventurous as I am.
I love to look to other cultures for my dishes, as different parts of the world use spices I might not normally think to use. For dinner this evening, I went through my pantry and freezer and started pulling things down to see what I had. This dish sprang into being.
Paella is a wonderful one-dish meal that you can re-engineer to make more healthy with just a few substitutions. I used chicken sausage instead of pork, brown rice instead of white and added chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs.
It also doesn’t take a ton of time to make, so you can visit and socialize while it bakes! It’s even better the next day.
Healthy PaellaServes 8
4 chicken breasts, cut in half
Salt and pepper
2 tbsps olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
4 garlic cloves
Large pinch of saffron threads
Large pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
2 ½ cups brown rice
8 oz chicken Andouille sausage, sliced thinly
1 can diced tomatoes, low sodium
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 lb raw shrimp, cleaned and peeled
1 large scallion, sliced thin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 5 or 6 quart ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saffron and cayenne and cook for 2 minutes more. Add sausage and tomatoes. Stir. Add chicken stock and simmer over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Nestle the chicken in the rice and cover tightly with foil. Bake the paella in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees. Scatter the peas and shrimp and mix lightly. Cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Take out of oven and loosen the foil and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with scallions.