17 January, 2013

Chicken Paella - SOOO YUMMY!

When I was little I always wanted to learn Spanish. I remember there was one specific Spanish book I would check out from the library in elementary school and spend hours reading it, totally thinking I was becoming fluent in Spanish. I also remember watching Unavision thinking I was absorbing the language and of course, I completely understood what they were talking about.....

Fast forward to highschool when I HAD to take a foreign language. I remember my father telling me to take Spanish. He said that I would need Spanish, and that it would help me with job prospects and the like. Of COURSE being the intelligent young girl I was, I took French - two years of it.

Fast forward a little more to college... I now had to have two semesters to graduate. College was a long term project for me, so I never attempted my foreign language requirement until I got to my junior year - GO BULLS! I flew through Spanish 1 with a Puerto Rican teacher, and survived Spanish 2 with a Mexican teacher.

I really wish I had stayed in Spanish. It would have been REALLY helpful in my line of work to be fluent in Spanish. I bet my daddy looks down from Heaven and chuckles every time I look up and say "You were right dad". The older I get the more frequently that happens!!

Okay... so what does this have to do with cooking??

I recently got back in contact with a long time friend of my family who is Spanish. Given that I'm on this quest to cook around the world apparently, it made me realize that I hadn't cooked anything Spanish. So I found a really great blog (or two) that I'll notate later. I came across a recipe for Chicken Paella - and it seemed safe. So, we gave it a shot tonight. It was super simple to make, and tasted great.

I immediately sent a text to my Spanish friend since I was sure I would look super cool cooking something from the country his people hail from.... I was informed that my meal is common in southern Spain, and in northern Spain it's all fish and octopus based. I'm not a huge fish fan - unless it doesn't taste like fish - and I HIGHLY doubt I'll be cooking ANYTHING made out of octopus in my lifetime if I can help it. So, with my deflated sails.... here is the recipe....

Spanish Chicken Paella

I should tell you that I got a fryer chicken from Walmart, already cut up. One thing I didn't like was that even though I got two HUGE breasts, I also got 4 thighs and two backbones. I would up trashing the backbones, and we don't eat dark meat. I have some furry friends, and one feathered one who will be finishing those off for me later.

I also didn't go for the "good quality Spanish rice" it calls for. I just used Mahatma Jasmine Rice. It worked fine.

Also, I was informed tonight that Vigo rice "rules". Essentially, what you are making with this rice is homemade Vigo rice. This is really similar to the chicken and yellow rice my mom made my entire childhood. I was informed that this person's Abuela (grandmother) put peas in hers. So if you're looking to add a veggie
I don't see why you couldn't put it in the Paella as well.

I kinda feel like since I'm NOT Spanish and I was trying to be as close to authentic as I could, that Vigo rice is cheating. Kinda makes me feel like because I had Taco Bell last week, I had authentic Mexican food, lol!

Here's a photo before I put it in the oven to finish cooking:

And one after I removed the dark meat and fluffed the rice:

Paella es muy sabroso! (And if that's wrong, blame google translator. My Spanish friend was unavailable, and the only Puerto Rican I know was giving me totally inappropriate phrases to put in my blog... at least I think they were... )

I have to thank the people over at Simple Bites for this great recipe! And if you're looking for MORE good Spanish food, join me in combing through the recipes over on A Little Bit Of Spain In Iowa.




  1. Did you actually go out and purchase pastured free range chicken and homemake your chicken broth?? My first thought at those ingredients were "yeah f* that" - I'll use the store brand chicken from Target and boxed broth I always use :-D. It looks like a great recipe!

    1. LOL! NO! I mean I sincerely hope that those chickens were treated well before they were sent to the meat department at Walmart, and if opening that carton of broth counts as homemade then I'm golden! I would LOVE to make everything organic, and homemade, and filled with love and kisses - the reality is I'd just like to have something on the table that's as simple as possible, nutritious, and decent. :P