Our first saffron dish! I have been wanting to cook something with saffron forever now and bought some at Trader Joe's a couple of months ago. We finally found a dish that seemed worthy of the expensive as gold spice. That arborio rice sure is expensive too - anyone know where to get it on the cheap?
A bit about saffron: it really is the world's most expensive spice. The saffron plant has these really pretty purple flowers - and one pound of saffron takes 50,000-75,000 of them! The golden-yellow hue that appears in dishes containing saffron is due to a natural die it has. It reportedly has some medicinal properties as well. Sounds like an all-around winner to me!
The dish is a very tasty, healthy paella. I must say, the chicken is not as flavorful as it could be though. If we make it again, we will likely season it as we cook it our just double the shrimp and leave the chicken out all together (most likely). Or perhaps even add additional seafood like mussels or squid. The original recipe is from Eating Well and called for smoked mussels, which we decided to omit and change some other ingredients around.
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 and 1/2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 16 oz), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
- Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15-ounce can tomatoes (with juice)
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 4 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/3 cup bottled roasted red pepper (about two large pieces), cut into strips
- Combine broth and saffron in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add shrimp and sauté until pink and curled, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add 1 teaspoon oil to the pan. Add chicken and sauté until lightly browned on the outside and opaque inside, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
- Season the shrimp and chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add onions and garlic; sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. (Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if they become too dry.)
- Stir in tomatoes and crushed red pepper; simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
- Add rice and stir to coat well with the tomato mixture. Stir in the reserved chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Gently stir artichoke hearts, peas, roasted red peppers, and the reserved shrimp and chicken into the rice mixture.
- Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the shrimp and chicken are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes longer. (Stir occasionally to prevent scorching, if necessary.) Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.