Paella "from the farm"
This one-pan meal looks delightfully fancy and complicated, yet nothing could be simpler. This recipe is not about exact measurements, it is about pulling together fresh, seasonal ingredients, whatever you happen to have on hand that day and binding them together with rice and broth. This can be made with any combination of meats, such as chicken, rabbit, chorizo, and serrano ham or with seafood - think clams, shrimp, and crab. For the vegetables, I used whatever was ripe in the garden that evening, which happened to be vine-ripened tomatoes, jalapenos, wax peppers, sweet peppers, okra, squash flowers, and Malibar spinach. Just be aware of the cooking times of different vegetables and add delicate things like greens during the last few minutes of cooking or fresh herbs after the cooking is done. I learned to cook paella early in my marriage because my husband spent part of his teen years living in Gibraltar and missed Spanish food. I quickly fell in love with the versatility of this dish and how it can be uniquely expressive of the season and geographic location in which it is cooked.
1.5 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and/or thighs
1 lb pork chorizo
2 cups paella or arborio rice
2 tsp saffron threads
6 cups chicken stock
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Several cups of ripe, seasonal garden vegetables (tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, okra, greens, fresh herbs)
1. Season chicken parts with salt and pepper and make meatballs out of the chorizo by breaking off roughly 2 Tablespoons of sausage and rolling them between your palms
2. Coat a large cast-iron pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil and preheat the pan over medium-high heat
3. Set a small pot with the chicken broth and saffron in it over low heat and keep warm. If you don't have saffron, don't fret, it will still be delicious without!
4. Add chicken to the preheated pan, skin-side down, then add the chorizo meatballs. Brown for 3-5 minutes until a nice golden color, then flip and brown on the other side. At this point, the meat will not be fully cooked. Remove meats from the pan and set them aside.
5. Turn heat down to medium and add onion to the pan. Cook until the onion is turning translucent and just starting to brown at the edges, then add garlic and stir for a few seconds. Don't burn the garlic!
6. Add rice to the pan and stir to coat in the oil and seasonings left behind by the meats.
7. Once the rice starts to toast add 1 cup of warm broth and stir until absorbed.
8. Add another cup of broth, then arrange the chicken and chorizo in the pan.
9. Cover the pan (if your pan doesn't have a lid, just tent it with aluminum foil)
10. When the second cup of broth has been absorbed by the rice, add a third cup of broth and gently stir the rice without disturbing the meat.
11. Now add your longer cooking vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, okra, or beans.
12. Recover the pan but peek at it every few minutes so you will see when more broth needs to be added.
13. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time. When you have added the final cup of broth add in any sturdier greens like chard, spinach, or kale.
14. Recover and cook until the last of the broth has been absorbed.
15. Check the temperature of the chicken, which should be at least 165°F.
16. Remove from heat, garnish with fresh herbs and flowers, and serve.