Let’s be honest—paella is never really quick and easy, but this version is straightforward and keeps your active time in the kitchen to under an hour. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that often mixes meats, fish, and even snails with rice to create a rich, one-pot meal. This recipe keeps it simple, adding only chicken thighs, Spanish chorizo (as opposed to Mexcian chorizo), and sugar snap peas to the rice.
The key ingredient that makes paella memorable is saffron. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It comes from the crocus flower and imparts a beautiful, yellow hue to anything it touches. This recipe requires soaking 1 tsp of saffron in white wine, which gives you a chance to watch the color as it seeps into the wine.
Believe it or not, I follow this recipe exactly as it’s written. I use fire-roasted tomatoes instead of regular diced tomatoes, but that’s the only change I make. This time I used a locally made chorizo from Olympic Provisions. It worked perfectly, but I didn’t notice much difference from the less expensive, imported Spanish brands. Typically I use fresh snap peas, but it’s winter and the ones in the store looked tough and sad to me, so instead I bought a local, organic brand of frozen snap peas. I let them thaw while I was cooking so they would be ready to add in near the end of cooking, just as the recipe requires. They were a fine substitute, although the fresh peas retain a little more snap to their texture.
This paella makes enough for six servings, and it’s definitely rich and filling. I like to serve it with a green salad to lighten the meal up a little bit, often with a few olives to keep with the Spanish theme. This is company worthy meal, so invite over some friends and dive in!
Quick Chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas via Epicurious
Bon Appétit April 2010