Spanish Paella on a Budget


Spanish meat paella - photo by Jesse Luna

This recipe is for a Spanish meat paella, without the paella cost. There were a couple of restrictions. One, our stove is on the fritz so we were not going to be able to do any major baking. And two, we had a tight budget. The budget restraint helped simplify the recipe since that meant no seafood and no saffron.

I worked off a recipe from “The Cuisines of Spain: Exploring Regional Home Cooking” by Teresa Barrenechea. I modified the recipe by substituting curry powder for the saffron. The curry powder gave it a unique taste, especially when blended with the paprika and it gave the dish the saffron coloring, without the heavy saffron price tag.

  • 1 clove garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into narrow strips
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into narrow strips
  • 1/4 pound beef shoulder cut, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • Salt
  • 3 ounces of chorizo
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

First, I broke apart a clove of garlic and placed it into a 500 degree F toaster oven until the skin started to brown, around ten minutes.

Meanwhile, I set to boil the chicken stock, mixed in the paprika and half the curry powder then set it to simmer.

When the garlic was browned, I peeled it then added the parts to a blender and added 1/2 a cup of the simmering stock plus the rest of the curry powder and blended it. Then I set it aside.

In a large (about 15-inch) pan, I heated the olive oil then added the green and red bell peppers til tender then added the chicken, beef and chorizo, stirring for a couple of minutes, just to brown them (not fully cook).

I then added in the rice and the salt, mixing the ingredients so that the rice picked up some of the oil.  I then spread the mixture across the pan and poured in the hot stock mixture, increased the heat to high so that it could boil.  I then added the garlic mixture that we blended and lightly mixed it in, just to incorporate it. Allow it to boil for 7-10 minutes without stirring then turn the heat down to medium. Do not stir or the rice will break apart and the dish will become starchy. If you actually have a functioning stove, you can then put the pan in the oven for 7 minutes at 500 degrees F, or you can continue to cook on the stove top for an additional 7-10 minutes. Just like cooking rice, the liquid will be absorbed and the rice will be tender. Remove it from the oven or stove top burner and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with the lemon wedges on the side.