A pan of paella makes a little seafood go a long way, and it can be gussied up with additional sea creatures, if you want to get fancy. You can double the recipe to serve a crowd (just make sure you have a pan large enough to accommodate the quantity).
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp saffron threads, (or ground turmeric, if you can't get saffron)
2 tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil
250 g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or breasts, cut into 1-in. chunks
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, squished
1 cup uncooked Italian arborio rice, (or other short-grain white rice)
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 798-mL can diced tomatoes
125 g chorizo sausage, (or pepperoni), cut in chunks
250 g large shrimps, shelled
250 g mussels, scrubbed and debearded
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a saucepan, heat the chicken broth to a simmer, then stir in the saffron threads or turmeric and remove from heat. Set aside. (If you substitute turmeric, you’ll get the yellow colour, but the flavour won’t be quite the same.) Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet (or, if you have one, a wide paella pan) over medium-high heat. Add the chunks of chicken and cook, stirring, until lightly browned—about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan, leaving the oil behind.
Lower the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes or so. Now pour in the chicken broth, stir to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add the peas (no need to defrost—just stir them in), tomatoes, chorizo or pepperoni and the browned chicken chunks. Bring the mixture back to a boil and remove from the heat.
Now the fun part. Let your kids nestle the mussels into the rice mixture so that they are sticking out at least partway (think clams in mud). Put into the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, toss the shrimp on top, and return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes—until the shrimp are cooked and the rice has absorbed the liquid.
Ta-da. Serve directly from the pan and wait for the applause.
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