I know at times, it seems that I’m all in for making simple food look impossibly difficult – 76.4% of my recipes should attest to that.
But, let’s clear the air here. Contrary to what you may think, it’s not that I want to frighten the bejeezus out of you so you’ll Never want to try them.
* I believe in being thorough. There’s nothing… Nothing.. I hate more than a recipe that leaves things off the list… it really cranks my rice krispies.
* I believe you should have everything you could possibly need spelled out. Because, let’s face it. Left to your own devices, some of you wont read the entire recipe, or will make * your own substitutions, or just get the general gist of the instructions and “Damn the torpedoes – Full speed ahead!” – – -and then complain because it didn’t turn out right.
* I believe, that given exhaustive instructions, anyone can cook what I give you. And really, that’s the beginning of trying anything new. Read the instructions and follow the plan. It’s a concept we are all well familiar with out in the working world.
* I believe any recipe that begins with, “It’s only 5 ingredients, and it tastes JUST like XYZ (enter your favorite chain restaurant here) ‘s. – is outright lying to you. If you want to * open 5 cans and call it cuisine – more power to you. I’m sure there are sites and boards out there that cater to that kind of thinking. But that.. isn’t me. And while I’m at it, slathering a pound (a POUND!) of butter on a loaf of bread and calling it a recipe – is a disgrace to the craft.
* and finally, I believe a crock-pot, like any other tool in the kitchen, has it’s place. You can’t throw 15 random ingredients into a pot and 6 hours later expect it to taste like anything other than a pedestrian casserole.
So, I really apologize if some of you can’t drink my particular brand of kool-aid. Maybe, I’m just not your guy…. you know?
With that in mind, I took a look back at the paella I did some time ago. And wow, that was a lot of steps for just one dish. I thought, “maybe I can simplify things a bit.” So, today’s recipe is an attempt to dumb down paella, and make it more a dish to fit easily into a weeknight, work week scenario. I know, it’s still a fair amount of ingredients – but it goes together quickly, and everything can be done in 2 pans… in about 45 minutes start to finish.
Chicken Paella, on a Stick
For the Chicken:
1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs or Thigh Strips
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 Clove Garlic – Crushed
1 Clove – Crushed
4 to 5 Strands Saffron
1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
2 Teaspoons Fish Sauce (or soy sauce, if that’s what you have on hand)
Tablespoon Lemon Juice
Dash of Salt and Pepper (really, just something less than a 1/4 Teaspoon)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Large Zipper Bag
Foil Covered Sheet Pan
For the Vegetable:
2 Red Bell Peppers and 2 Yellow Bell Peppers, Cleaned and cut into strips
1 Can Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes – Drained. Retain the liquid
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
3 to 4 Strands Saffron
1 Clove Garlic – Crushed
Salt and Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Cup Parsley – Chopped
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Cup White Wine (or an equal amount of apple juice – plus – 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce, if you have an aversion to using alcohol.)
Large Sauce Pan
Place all the chicken ingredients into a zipper bag and squitch everything around until all the pieces are covered. Chill and marinate for 30 minutes. The longer they can marinate the better. If you have time the night before – do it then, and skewer them up just before you’re ready to grill.
For the vegetables:
Heat the saucepan with the oil over medium heat, Saute the garlic, peppers and onions until the peppers are limp and the onions are translucent… about 8 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is finished. Add back the retained tomato liquid if the stew gets too thick.
Use this time to make a pot of rice. Use your personal favorite.
When the chicken is ready, divide the strips between the skewers and thread them completely on the sticks. Preheat the broiler to high. Place the skewers on the prepared sheet pan and broil for 5 minutes per side.
Serve on a large platter over the vegetable mixture and a mound of steamed rice.