I’m calling this new dish Every Woman’s Paella because it’s a simple, one pot dinner – something every woman can appreciate. While it isn’t made in a traditional paella pan, the two share a lot in common. The saffron and chorizo give both dishes their delightfully familiar amber color, as well as providing a warm and lightly spicy flavor.
I chose piquant pickled peppers to contrast with the rich broth of onion, wine, and tomato, and scattered two types of olives, mild Castelvetranos and savory Nicoise, into the dish before baking. As always, add what you crave and omit what you damn.
Every Woman’s Paella (Chicken and Chorizo Baked with Rice):
*this recipe makes 8 servings and can easily be cut in half
generous pinch of saffron threads (about 20 threads)
1 C. dry white wine
1/2 # chorizo sausage, preferably raw
1 Tbsp. olive oil (if necessary)
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 large yellow onion, medium dice
4 – 5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 C. long-grain rice
2 tsp. Aleppo pepper
2 bay leaves
1 & 1/2 C. diced tomatoes with their liquid, canned or boxed
2 C. chicken broth
1 C. Peppadew peppers, quartered (or substitute chopped roasted red peppers)
about 24 of your favorite olives, pitted
juice of 1 lemon
Italian parsley for garnish
Preheat to oven to 350 degrees and gently crumble the saffron threads into a cup with the wine. Set aside to bloom.
Heat a large saute pan (ideally one with a lid) over medium heat. Remove the chorizo from its casing if necessary and cook until lightly browned and much of the fat has rendered out. If your chorizo is pre-cooked, just cut it into a small dice before frying. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat behind. If little fat remains, add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to supplement.
Season the chicken generously with salt and brown lightly, skin side down, in the hot pork fat. Turn the chicken over and brown the second side. There is no need to cook the chicken all the way through. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions to the pan and season with salt. Saute for about 5 minutes or until very soft. Add the garlic and cook another 1 – 2 minutes to soften. Stir in the rice, Aleppo pepper, and bay leaves and toast the rice, stirring often, for another 1 – 2 minutes.
Add the diced tomato and saffron-spiked wine to the pan. Stir thoroughly to combine and allow some of the wine to cook off for a few minutes, being careful not to let the rice stick to the bottom of the pan.
Crumble in the cooked chorizo over the rice and scatter the peppers and the olives around the pan. Next, nestle the chicken pieces down into the pan in a single layer and then pour the broth over the top. Increase the heat and bring the liquid to a strong simmer, then cover the pan tightly and place into the oven.
Bake the Every Woman’s Paella for 30 minutes, or until the rice and chicken are fully cooked. Squeeze with the lemon, sprinkle the chopped Italian parsley over the top, and serve this complete meal directly out of its cooking vessel.