Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paella with the girls

About every 6 weeks I get together with my girls from J.Crew - where I previously worked BB (before baby).  We take turns hosting and serve either wine and cheese...or wine and dinner.  It was my turn to host and I took a stab at my good friend Nicole's Paella.  No one makes it nearly as good as she does...but you can try to come close with this super easy recipe (listed below).  And if you don't have Paella pan you can use a large skillet (as long as it can be transferred to the oven).
The girls were blown away by the succulent chicken, spicy sausage, tender rice and veggies that I actually made - almost entirely - with my clingy LM hanging off my arm.  I served with the Barefoot Contessa's Mustard Roasted Potatoes (recipe also below). Delish!
Winter Vegetable-Chicken Paella
Active:  1 hour; Total 1 hour 45 minutes

6 Servings

1 large leek, white and tender green parts only, halved length wise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12 boneless chicken thighs, with skin
1 large onion finely chopped
10 oz chorizo or other spicy cured sausage, cut 1/4 inch thick
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups Spanish Valencia rice
3 1/2 cups hot chicken stock
One 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 pound Swiss chard (or you can use collard greens) stems discarded, leaves coarsely chopped

1.)  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Brush leek with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and arrange on 1 side of a large baking sheet, cut side down.  On the other side, toss the squash with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes, or until golden and just tender.  Cut the leek into 1 inch lengths.

2.)  Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 14-16 inch paella pan or skillet.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper; cook over moderate heat until golden, 10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Add the onion and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan; cook over low heat until softened.  Add the chorizo, saffron and cayenne.  Cook over moderately high heat, stirring for 2 minutes.  Add the rice and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring for two minutes.   Stir in the stock, tomatoes, chard, leek and squash.

3.)  Nestle the chicken in the rice, skin side up.  Simmer the paella over low heat for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a 350 degree over and bake for 30 minutes or until the stock is absorbed, the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and cover with a towel.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Serve at once.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs small red potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 425

Cut potatoes in halves or quarters, depending on their size, and place them on sheet pan.
Remove the ends of the onions, peel them, cut in half.  Slice them crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices to make half rounds.  Toss onions and potatoes together in sheet pan.  Add olive oil, mustard, 2 tsp salt, and pepper and toss.

Bake for 50mins to 1 hour, until potatoes are lightly browned on outside and tender on inside.  Toss the potatoes from time to time w/a metal spatula so they brown evenly.

Serve hot sprinkled w/ chopped parsely and a little more salt.