Recipe: Brown rice paella with chicken

The finished product (or half of it, anyway. This is the first batch).
The finished product (or half of it, anyway. This is the first batch).

No long preamble today, just a few things:

1) This made WAY more that I thought it was going to, so use a really big skillet.  I actually had to split it into two batches because the pan I was using was too small. Between this, leftovers from last week, and the significant amount of fresh produce I bought this weekend, I probably have enough food for two weeks squirreled away in the fridge/cupboard.

2) I apologize to Spain and all the Spanish people I know for probably messing up one of your signature dishes. Just kidding, not sorry at all because this was totally delicious.

3) USE STOCK. I didn’t have enough vegetable scraps (or time) to make it this week, and found out too late in my grocery shopping yesterday that all the bouillon cubes and gravy granules at my regular store contain wheat. I substituted water with juice of 1 lemon for everywhere the recipe says “stock,” and while the final result is pretty damn tasty (and gets better with a day or two in the fridge for the flavors to blend), I can tell it just isn’t the same.

To the recipe (after the pictures)!

Parboiled rice (and lots of key ingredients in the background).
Parboiled rice (and lots of key ingredients in the background).
Stir-frying veggies!
Letting the veggies and chicken cook some more as the tomatoes and wine reduce.
Mixing in the rice and the spices that give this dish its signature red color.
Mixing in the rice and the spices that help give this dish its signature red color.
I started by filling every single one of my available tupperware with paella, and was left with a wee little bowl for dinner (don't worry, I was munching on the ingredients along the way!). Pretty tasty with peri peri sauce and Parmesan.
I started by filling every single one of my available tupperware with paella, and was left with a wee little bowl for dinner (don’t worry, I was munching on the ingredients along the way!). Pretty tasty with peri peri sauce and Parmesan.

Brown rice paella with chicken

Adapted from: Fat Free Vegan.

Yield: 8+ servings.

4 c chicken or vegetable stock, divided
1/2 tsp saffron threads (I used just a pinch)
2 c short-grain brown rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 chicken tenderloins, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
1/3 c white wine
2 tsp regular (or smoked paprika; more to taste)
1 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 can cooked beans, drained (I used black-eyed peas)
2 medium zucchini, cut into quarter-rounds
1-2 handfuls frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and cut into quarters

First: make sure everything is defrosted and ready to go, or at least that it will be by the end of the next two steps.

Warm the broth on a back burner. When warm, remove 1/2 c to a small bowl and add the saffron to it, crushing it between your fingers first.

Parboil the rice: bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Add rice and cook for 5-10 minutes (original recipe says 15, but I found this to be unnecessary). Drain water completely and allow rice to dry for up to 1 hour.

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened. Add chicken pieces and cook until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned  in places. Add garlic, tomatoes, and wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and most of the liquid has boiled off. Stir in the drained rice, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, and saffron broth and cook for another few minutes.

Add 3 c of warm broth and beans and bring to a boil. Taste the liquid and add salt, pepper, and spices to taste if necessary. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook ~ 5-10 minutes. Stir in zucchini and cook for 5-10 more minutes, or until liquid has mostly reduced.

Stir in spinach, bell pepper, and artichoke hearts. If rice is not completely cooked and liquid is mostly gone, add more broth. Continue cooking 5-10 minutes, (covered, if the rice really isn’t done yet) until bell peppers are soft and rice is cooked. If there is excess liquid in the pan at the end of cooking, allow it to boil off. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Add salt, pepper, and (optionally) cuisine-appropriate hot sauce to taste and garnish with freshly-grated Parmesan or other hard cheese before enjoying.

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3 thoughts on “Recipe: Brown rice paella with chicken

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