Rice meals have always been comforting and very filling for me. I love the paellas, congees and all sorts of rice-based meals. My Tita Mila, one of my dad’s younger sisters, has been an inspiration for me to learn so many dishes. I have fond memories of coming to their house for parties. Her cooking was phenomenal! I think it was at one of her parties that I first tasted paella. And ever since then, I’ve tried to practice my way into duplicating what she did. I’m not quite there yet as I’m not quite brave enough to cook with actual pieces of seafood (YET!), but I’m getting there.
About a decade ago, maybe even more, I joined the Del Monte Kitchenomics Club. It was a recipe club established by Del Monte in the Philippines. I think it was a good marketing coup since the recipes mostly contained Del Monte ingredients. But I have them to thank for because it was through a recipe that I got in the post that I learned my shortcut paella recipe. It was a chicken skillet paella recipe. Over the years, I’ve improved on how short the shortcuts were and I’ve been working on improving the recipes.
I can’t quite call my rice dish a paella but I guess you could call it that because it has chorizo, chicken and seafood. But I won’t call it a paella until I can cook with actual seafood pieces. It’s really a rice with chorizo dish with seafood, so it’s really an Arroz Con Chorizo recipe. But for anyone wanting to try the shortcut recipe, here it is:
300 grams chicken thighs cubed
125 grams chorizo sliced into rounds
250 grams arborio rice (you can always use ordinary rice, the shorter the grain the better)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion chopped
1 large green bellpepper chopped
200 grams frozen peas
1 tsp garlic granules (or 2 fresh large garlic cloves minced)
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
800ml chicken stock (1 L water with 2 stock cubes boiled until it’s reduced to 800ml)
225 grams frozen seafood mix (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or shallow sauce pan. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sautee until the onions are slightly transluscent. Add the chorizo and sautee until the chorizo releases its oils. The onion-chorizo mixture should turn slighlty orange (*NOTE: add the garlic at this point if you’re using fresh garlic, but only if you’re using fresh garlic).
- Add the chicken pieces and sautee until the chicken slices lose its pinkness. Add all the spices: garlic, paprika, turmeric, pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper. Mix until the spices are well-incorporated. Lower the heat to medium and allow chicken to cook under a lid for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and replace the lid and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the arborio rice (I usually wash the rice once before I cook it, if I’m NOT using arborio). Mix well until all the rice grains are covered with the juices. Add half of the chicken stock and cover the lid. Allow mixture to reach a slow boil, stirring occassionally.
- When most of the stock has been absorbed, add the remaining stock. Add the frozen peas, green bellpepper and seafood pieces (the seafood pieces are optional). Cook on low heat for a further 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You may have to add a little more water if the rice requires more cooking (depends on how hot your stove gets).
- This will serve 4-6, depending on how generous your portions will be.