Paella mixta, paella with both seafood and meat, is one of the most satisfying meals to make at home. Maybe it’s the saffron: anything you make with that culinary gold is bound to fill the house with a heavenly scent while it’s cooking, and taste amazing when it’s done. Maybe it’s the slow-cooking rice (I use the more easily-accessible Arborio, but you can use Bomba to be more authentic). Maybe it’s getting to eat both meat and seafood in one dish. The added bonus is that paella is passively dairy free; i.e., there is never any dairy in it, so you don’t have to remove anything or substitute anything to enjoy it dairy free just the same way everyone else enjoys it. Great, huh? So, if you like rice, vegetables and meat, you should go to the trouble of making paella.
Of course, the fact that it takes a specialty pan to make it may discourage some people. However, you can make other things in a paella pan, and you can probably cook a decent paella in, say, a large saute pan that can go in the oven. And it doesn’t have to cost a bundle to get a paella pan. So whether you decide to get a paella pan or not, that shouldn’t stop you from making paella.
Without further ado, here is my take on Paella mixta.
Prep time: 90 minutes; cook time: 1 hour; total time: 2-1/2 hours.
3/4 cup, olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
12 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half
2 bell peppers, color of your choice, chopped into large pieces
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced into small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-1/2 cups, arborio (or bomba) rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 pkg saffron
2 Italian sweet sausages
1 pkg Trader Joe’s frozen mixed seafood
2 cups frozen peas
2 tbsp capers
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet (skillet #1). Add sausages and brown on all sides. Remove sausages and cut them into chunks, then return them to the skillet with the garlic, onion, peppers and tomatoes, stirring until well mixed. Cook until vegetables are getting pretty soft, and then set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For skillet #2, you want to use the largest skillet you have, or even a saute pan if you have that. Keep in mind that before you are done, it is going to have to hold almost the entire amount of food. Heat a further 1/4 cup of olive oil in this one, add the chicken, and brown it on all sides. Add all the seasonings, and cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer the chicken to a paper toweled plate, and pour off the chicken liquid, reserving liquid for later.
Take skillet #2 again. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and saute the rice until it’s well toasted, maybe 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Pour in the reserved chicken liquid and broth, and stir. Add the sausage and vegetables mixture, and stir some more. Sprinkle in saffron and continue stirring until well mixed.
Transfer everything from skillet #2 into paella pan. Mix in chicken, mixed seafood, peas and capers, stirring until well combined. Bake uncovered on a low shelf of the oven for 60 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
Serve paella straight from the pan. If you like, you can garnish it with lemon or lime wedges. You can also drizzle it with hot sauce, if you like.
I’ve made paella several times, experimenting and changing the recipe a little each time. The recipe I originally worked from said to bake it at a 200 degree temperature for 20 minutes. That did absolutely nothing. 350 for an hour works pretty well. Enjoy!