Monday, 21 May 2012

Smokey Paprika Paella

Ok, so here's what inspired me to try to cook paella this week.  This lovely picture came in the Insider's Report flyer.  The Presidents Choice makes such awesome sauces.  They've been making them since the first Sechewan Peanut Sauce came out (and rocked my boxed-foods world way back when).  The caption stated it contained "pure olive oil, smoked paprika, cumin, chili peppers, lemon, garlic and fire-roasted tomatoes".  Oh, I could so make that.  Who doesn't love that flavour combo?  They had me at smoked paprika and cumin.  Heck, I'd poach fish in that combo.  But I didn't this time.  Because I was making paella.

Serves: 5
Time: about 1/2 hour
Sorry for the grainy shot, but this is the picture they stuck with it.  I chose to skip the green peas, you're welcome.  And I could have barbecued all of my ingredients, too, it would've looked this fabulous, but would it have tasted fabulous?  No, because the flavours would not have had time to "mingle."  So I didn't, and I spared both you and me a lot of time fussing around in the kitchen.  Sometimes they do this stuff to make a good photo without taste in mind.  I like simple and tasty, presentation isn't a priority for me.  So here's how it went down:

Smokey Paprika Sauce

1/3 c EVOO
1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)
2 tsp fresh garlic
1 tsp dried cumin
1/2 tsp dried lemon zest or lemon peel
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp lemon juice
1 fresh tomato 5-oz can tomato paste

The Rest

1 lb boneless chicken (white or dark)
1/2 lb cooked shrimp
2 large tomatoes
1/3 large spanish onion
1/2 c shelled pistachios
1 red pepper*
1 head cauliflower

Ok, first throw all of the ingredients for the Smokey Paprika sauce into a blender--I used my magic bullet-- and just puree everything together.  Set aside.  **(see notes below on added uses)

Rice your cauliflower. Chop your tomatoes and onion.  Chop your chicken into bite-sized pieces (and if you buy your chicken skin on, make cracklin's in another frypan at the same time as you cook dinner to snack on while you cook....)

Alright, in a large skillet, brown chicken on all sides (chicken may still be a bit pink in the middle).    Add onions, cooking just until the onions begin to turn translucent.  Reduce heat and add cauliflower, red pepper, sauce and tomatoes.  Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until cauliflower begins to soften.  Add shrimp, stirring and allowing to heat through.  Remove from heat and add pistachios.  Eat!

Your sauce will be thicker and more red than mine is here; I used a fresh tomato in the sauce the first time around.  Using tomato paste will make for a far richer, fuller flavour and thicker sauce that coats the "rice".

This has a hint of heat to it already due to the cayenne, but feel free to add sriracha sauce if you're anything like me.  My family agreed this was a keeper recipe; they'd eat it again and again.  No one argued that it was too spicy, but no one else added extra heat, either.  Hmm.  Must be just me.

**You could throw this sauce into the fridge and it would stay fresh for weeks because of the olive oil base. This sauce would be very good on many things; fish, pork, ribs, sauteed okra...  On a lazy night, just stir-fry some chicken and shrimp with a couple of chopped tomatoes, add this sauce and serve it over top of steamed cauli-rice.
*I used a fresh red pepper because that's what I had.  If you have the time or happen to have one on-hand, use a roasted red pepper for a more intense sweet.

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