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Friday, January 28, 2011

Now I'm REALLY starting to spoil Frank.

I know, I know, many of the wives out there are thinking, "you're SUPPOSED to make your husband's favorite foods!"  That's what we do...we tie our aprons on, put a smile on our faces and sing happy songs while making the meals that our men love the most.  Right?

Ummm, sure.

Don't get me wrong - I love making Frank's favorites - but through the years I've had to branch out a bit, mainly so that we weren't eating pasta every night.  He's what you'd call a pain in the ass creature of habit, and that's regarding many things...not just food.  I'm just the opposite - I'm all about variety.  So, the term "opposites attract" holds true for us in that respect.

I'm finally at the point where I can pretty much predict what Frank will order when we're out, depending on what type of cuisine it is.  9 times out of 10, when we're out for Spanish/Portuguese food, Frank orders paella.  No question about it.

So, while scanning my (very full!) fridge last night, I saw what needed to be used - 4 chicken thighs and some leftover shrimp.  I pulled the TJs smoked chicken andouille sausage out of the freezer...and...perfecta!  Paella!

Now, I know there are more "authentic" recipes out there, but I found a recipe to base mine off of what I had already in the house.  Next time I'll probably use chorizo (although the TJs sausage was excellent, and a healthy substitute) and a few different types of olives.  And, as for peppers, you-know-who isn't a fan...but he'll just have to pick them out :)

In keeping with the Spanish theme, I also made Natilla...it's very easy, and really, REALLY good.

I'm not sure I've had it before, even though it tasted familiar.  It's probably used as a custard inside other desserts...hmmm...am I going to have to start making Spanish pastries now?

I better be getting a kick-ass birthday gift next week.  Just sayin'.

Paella Mixta
adapted from adamsvetcooking on food52.com
4 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
4 links Trader Joe's Smoked Chicken Andouille Sausage
2 medium onions, sliced
5 garlic cloves, halved
1 1/2 cups green olives with pimento, halved
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon saffron sprigs
2 bay leaves
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined, with skin

Preheat oven to 425ºF.  In a 12" saute pan (or 18" paella pan, or dutch oven) add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Put pan over medium to high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan and sear both sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place sausage in pan and sear both sides. Remove from heat and set aside.  

Add onion to pan and cook until soft.  Add garlic, peppers and olives. Continue to saute for 5 - 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add rice and saute for 3 - 5 minutes (until rice begins to toast), then pour in chicken stock.  Add cumin, saffron, bay leaves and thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

Add chicken and sausage to pan. Arrange in decorative fashion. Cover with lid or foil.  Place pan in preheated oven, and cook for 45 minutes.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper, and add it to the pan.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with lemon.

Serves 4.

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At January 28, 2011 at 10:12 PM , Blogger julie said...

Love love paella! Your version definitely works for me. As soon as you mentioned the words Trader Joes you had me. :)

That dessert looks fabulous as well. I've never heard of natilla before but based on your picture I'm thinking I need to.

Have a wonderful weekend!

At January 28, 2011 at 11:15 PM , Blogger Ann said...

You do deserve a kick ass birthday gift, for sure! This dish looks good.

At January 28, 2011 at 11:34 PM , Blogger Maria said...

Being Portuguese and growing up in NJ this post makes me happy. There are 0 Spanish or Portuguese places in the DC area.


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