Paella and Rice Pudding

I love paella. I’ve had several different versions, and each was as tasty as the last. However, I’ve always been too intimidated to try making it. It’s a controversial dish, for sure, with everyone seeming to have his or her own “authentic” recipe. But more than that, I’m not the greatest cook, and there is a lot that goes into any paella recipe. For me, that reads as “there are a lot of opportunities to screw up.” I don’t know if I suddenly had a burst of self-confidence or just too much coffee, but I decided to make paella for our NHN family dinner this month. I’m happy — nay, ecstatic — to say that it was not only edible but pretty darn good. We had rice pudding for dessert — yum. And a dance party topped off the fabulous evening.






Paella

Paella

Ingredients

  • Herb blend:
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Paella:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 48 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chicken, cubed
  • 6 1/2 ounces Spanish chorizo sausage, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. To prepare the herb blend, combine the first four ingredients, and set aside.
  2. To prepare paella, combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.
  4. Add sausage, and saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan.
  5. Add shrimp, and saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; saute 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes.
  8. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  9. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, chicken, sausage, and peas. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  10. Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done.
  11. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice.
  12. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes.
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Rice Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice (I used basmati)
  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon

Directions

  1. Boil several cups of water. Add rice and boil for 3 minutes, stirring.
  2. Drain the rice and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  3. Mix vanilla with the milk and bring to a boil.
  4. Add rice slowly.
  5. Add butter and sugar.
  6. Hard boil for 5 minutes, then cover and cook on low for about an hour or until rice is done.
  7. Scoop into serving dish, allow to cool, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve and enjoy!