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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Easy Paella

I have about ten gazillion recipes for paella but have never gotten around to making any of them.  I have vegetarian versions, seafood versions, fancy versions...you name it, I have it.  So when I decided to finally make one, I chose the Parents magazine version.  Easy, and if it's in Parents, presumably kid-friendly.

Easy Paella

2 links chicken sausage (6 oz.)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 red pepper
1 small onion
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
pinch of salt
8 oz cooked peeled, deveined shrimp
1 8.8-oz pkg cooked brown rice (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1.  Cut sausage in half lengthwise and slice into pieces.  Heat canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high and cook sausage until browned, about 2 minutes.

2.  Chop the red pepper and the onion and add to the pan with turmeric and a few shakes of salt.  Cook, uncovered, until tender, about 4 minutes.

3.  Stir in rice, broth, and shrimp.  Cook for 2 minutes more to heat through.

The Verdict:  Surprisingly good and definitely easy.

When it came down to making this recipe, I was a little leery about the lack of ingredients.  While I'm no paella expert, I at least knew most paella recipes call for saffron.  No saffron here.  I guess that was the job of the turmeric--to turn the dish (and my hands) yellow.  But the recipe was really tasty.

To be fair, the sausage I used wasn't just Italian chicken sausage.  I send my husband to the store for me and he came home with a chicken, artichoke and garlic sausage.  I'll admit I rolled my eyes a bit (what is this?) but after tasting it, my eyes remained stationary.  It was great.  The take home lesson for you is to feel free to stray from plain Italian sausage.

The rice bit confused me.  What did one 8.8 package of rice mean?  The accompanying pictures show the paella cooked, as well as the ingredients laid out.  Apparently, there's a package of brown rice from Uncle Ben's called "Ready Rice."  We aren't much into convenience foods in our house, so I had no idea this stuff existed.  My lazy rice is the occasional box of boil-in-bag, which is what I used.  Use whatever you want, just have about a cup and a half to mix into your other ingredients.

Sadly, the "kid-friendly" part of this recipe wasn't tested.  It had been a very fun morning, followed by getting stuck in Boston traffic.  We got home and my son was too wound up for a nap.  So by dinnertime, I had a cranky, overtired toddler on my hands.  To him, paella translated from Spanish into English as "poisonous."  But I wouldn't trust his refusal to eat it to mean he wouldn't on another day. 

The package of sausage had four in it; so I froze the remaining two.  I liked this recipe well enough to use them to make it one more time.  I can get behind a dinner that's gratifying and can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.

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