Quinoa Paella with Chicken and Chorizo
Impress her with this easy-to-make gourmet recipe
1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breast, cut into 1-inch pieces.*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika or other paprika
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on how much spice you like
3 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups quinoa
½ cup finely chopped dry-cured chorizo
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup thin strips roasted red bell pepper, preferably fire-roasted
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a high-sided pot, heat the oil over high heat. Once the pan is hot hot hot, add the chicken. Brown the chicken pieces, turning after 2 minutes on each side.** Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Turn off the heat and let the pan cool. Stir in the paprika, garlic and red pepper flakes into the hot oil in the pan.
- Stir in the broth, taking care to scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Stir in the quinoa and chorizo. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 12 minutes.
- Add salt to taste. Stir in the chicken. Cover and cook over low heat until the quinoa is done and the chicken is cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. If the mixture seems dry or the quinoa isn't thoroughly cooked, stir in a little more broth or water, cover and cook until done (usually just a few more minutes).
- Stir in peas and roasted pepper. Cover and let sit for 1 minute. Stir in parsley just before serving.
* Use pre-cooked chicken or turkey and skip the browning step. Just toss it into the mix a few minutes before the end of cooking the heat up the meat and incorporate it with the other ingredients.
** If the chicken sticks the first time you try to turn it, don't freak out. Just let it sit there and it'll be ready to turn in 30 seconds to a minute. If that fails, just add a little oil to the pan and gently pry the chicken from the pan. Whenever meat sticks to a pan, it means it was either turned to early or the pan wasn't hot/well-oiled enough to begin with. Hey, you'll know next time, right?
*** Don't be afraid to be creative. It's your kitchen — if you like to eat everything with cheese, add a handful! And if chorizo grosses you out, sub in another cured meat, like salami (or skip it altogether for an even healthier option). Think of recipes as helpful, flexible guides not legal codes that must be followed exactly.