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Easy fake paella recipe

Real paella is made in one pan. This recipe is "fake" because the seasoned rice is prepared separately from the other ingredients and added at the end. The advantage is that we can include a bigger variety of fresh vegetables. Feel free to vary the amounts below for your own taste.

Invest in preparation. Once you start cooking, this process goes very quickly.
Seasoned rice:

  • 2 cups long grain white rice. (I like jasmine rice, but any will do)
  • 1 spice bottle of saffron (about 1 gram, get the biggest amount for the least cost you can find, more is better)
  • Dried oregano, a healthy shake
  • Cumin to taste (I go easy on cumin, too much smells like armpits)
  • Black pepper, just a bit
 Meat and seafood:
  • 1/2 pound or more savory sausage links, like spicy Italian, Andouille, or Spanish chorizo, cut in thin medallions (Note that sausage is required because all the other ingredients rely on a little sausage grease in the pot. If you omit sausage, add a little oil to cook the chicken and seafood)
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled and cleaned (fish or other seafood would also work, but I always use shrimp)
A variety of fresh vegetables with a variety of textures, such as:
  • Florets from 2 or 3 broccoli stalks
  • 1 or 2 red bell peppers, cut in bite size pieces
  • Green peas, fresh or frozen (peas are traditional in real paella)
  • Mild pitted olives, like cerignolo or castelveltano (strong olives like kalamata are not recommended)
  • Green beans or asparagus, cut in bite size pieces 
The order in which the ingredients are prepared is critical. Messing this up will make for an unpleasant outcome:

Cook the rice. For 2 cups of rice I use about 4 cups of water, but this varies with altitude and preference. The goal is to have rice that is more dry and less wet, but it will be tasty regardless. However you cook your rice, stir in all the saffron, the oregano, cumin and black pepper immediately and allow the spices to cook with the rice.  Stir occasionally to mix in the spices as the rice cooks.

When the rice is nearly done, or completely done and off the heat, cook the meat and seafood. Use a very large pot, this pot will eventually hold all of the paella: 

On high heat, stirring constantly: 
  • Brown the sausage medallions thoroughly. 
  • When the sausage is cooked, add the cut up chicken to the pot
  • When the chicken is cooked, add the shrimp to the pot
  • When the shrimp is cooked or nearly cooked, add the vegetables and olives to the pot
  • Still stirring constantly, cook this mixture on high heat until the vegetables are barely tender
  • Add the cooked rice and mix thoroughly

Serve and salt to taste. Store refrigerated.

To cook leftovers, put paella with a splash of water in a pan with a lid over low heat.