Paella is a great one-dish meal that can be altered in myriad ways depending on what you have on hand and what is in season. Beginning with the components of broth, saffron, and short-grain rice, from there the possibilities are endless. For this variety, I included green beans, two colors of bell pepper, peas, and lima beans. I sauteed chicken and sausage in a separate pan, to suit vegetarian and meat-eating tastes. If you are not cooking for vegetarians, mix the meats in before you put the pan into the oven. This will feed 4-6 hungry adults, and is great served alongside a simple green salad. Also, don’t be deterred by the inclusion of lima beans. I normally despise them, but in this dish they blend innocuously into the background and just provide another textural element that is actually really satisfying.
(adapted from Delicioso: The Regional Cooking of Spain by Penelope Casas)
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crumbled
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 lbs boneless-skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks
2-3 links of sausage (1/2 lb), sliced (chorizo is traditional; I used very non-traditional andouille)
3 plum tomatoes
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 lb green beans, cut in 1 1/2″ lengths
5 green onions, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup lima beans (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
2 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400 F
Slice the tomatoes in half crosswise. Remove the seeds, then grate on a box grater to remove all the flesh from the skins. Discard the skins, reserving the pulp.
Simmer the broth, wine, and saffron in a medium saucepan.
Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt (1/2 a tsp or so).
In a paella pan or skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and chicken and cook 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove and set aside.
Add the other 2 tbsp olive oil and heat. Add the green beans, and both bell peppers.
Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the paprika and tomato pulp, then the lima beans, peas, and green beans. Cook 2-3 minutes, then stir in the rice and sea salt.
Ladle the broth into the pan of rice and stir occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Stir in the meat, then transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover with foil, and let stand 5 minutes, then serve.