When I was eight years old, I became friends with a girl named Sara. Her Dad was a physician and worked with my Mom. The family was originally from Paraguay and going to their house was like going to an exotic world. The house was filled with beautiful South American art and the scent of aromatic spices. Dr. T had (and still has!) a bigger-than-life smile and personality. He and Mrs. T were part of the gourmet club that my parents had and they all shared a love for food and cooking. It was at Dr. T’s that I experienced paella for the first time and fell in love with the dish.
This Paella Mixta was inspired by the most recent arrival from King Oscar – Spanish Style Sardines with Chili Pepper and Olive Oil. They have rocked my world right out of the tin. These Spanish style sardines are thick and flaky and flavorful. Not only did they make the paella just that much better, I think I have a new fave food so stay tuned for some more tempting recipes. And with each bite, I am getting all of my omega-3’s plus protein!
My normal paella pan is a mega 20 inches with feeds 10 people plus plus, so I scooted over to Sur La Table and got a nice little 13.5 inch pan for $20. This is a great size for the family AND fits nicely on one large burner since uneven heating can be a challenge with the large pan. And don’t worry – this size still feeds six people plus!
Look for the new King Oscar Spanish Style Sardines on your market shelf and for everyone that wrinkles their nose … I am personally challenging you to try these. They are not Archie Bunker’s sardines – more like Javier Bardem’s sardines and who wouldn’t want to share a tin with him?!
ENJOY and let me know how you like to make paella!
- 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined (I like the tails on)
- 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed & cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2-3 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón dulce)
- 6 ounces Spanish chorizo, chopped (Whole Foods has it)
- 3-4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, small dice
- 1/2 teaspoon+ saffron threads (do according to your taste)
- 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of King Oscar Spanish Style Sardines, flaked
- 1 cup of dry white wine (I like Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1 1/2 cups Bomba rice – Valencia Rice
- 2 cups sodium chicken broth
- Salt and Pepper
- Parsley to garnish
- Lemons to garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 400F and place rack in center of oven. Toss shrimp in a bit of EVOO and season with 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside. Toss chicken in a bit of EVOO and season with 1 teaspoon of paprika, salt and pepper.
Place paella pan on largest burner available on medium to high heat. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO to the pan and when it is hot (but not sizzling), add the chorizo. Allow the fat to render for approximately 3 minutes. Scoop chorizo out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add chicken to the pan and sear on all sides for approximately 6-7 minutes. Scoop chicken out with a slotted spoon and set in the bowl with the chorizo.
Add onion, garlic and bell peppers to the paella pan. After about 2 minutes, add the saffron and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of paprika. Stir to coat the veggies with the spices. Cook until soft and then add tomatoes. Stir and make sure you are scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the wine and sardine flakes and bring to simmer. Reserve some of the sardines for garnish! Add the bomba rice to the paella pan and stir the rice until it is well-coated with the tomato mixture.
Make sure heat is on medium-high and add the broth, again stirring to combine. Return chorizo and chicken with juices to the pan and stir a final time to allow the layers to settle evenly. NO MORE STIRRING FROM THIS POINT!
Bring to lively simmer and allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Some of the liquid should be absorbed by this point. Carefully, place the paella pan into the oven. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the shrimp and continue cooking in the oven until the shrimp is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed.
Remove paella from the oven and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. When you scoop the paella, should be steaming and moist but not excess liquid.
Garnish is optional – parsley and lemon. I have even seen people use hot sauce!
Bonus points if you achieve “soccarat” – the layer of crispy, brown rice that can form on the bottom of the pan. If you want the soccarat, leave on the stove longer and do the final 15 minutes in the oven.
THANK YOU to King Oscar, one of our treasured sponsors who keeps the Hungry Goddess hopping to create new and delicious sardine recipes!
More King Oscar posts from me: