Thursday, June 24, 2010

CEiMB: Chicken Paella with Sausage and Olives

It's Thursday! That means it is time for another Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe. This week's recipe was chosen by Margaret of Tea and Scones. She chose for us to make the Chicken Paella with Sausage and Olives from So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger. The recipe can be found online here.

I had never made paella before, and this recipe is a bit different as far as other recipes I have seen. Traditional paella is made is a special pan that allows the rice to form a chewy, crispy crust on the bottom. Unfortunately, I do not have one of those pans, but I think that the fact that the dish is cooked in the oven adds a nice chewy texture to the rice. For me, what makes this dish different from a common chicken and rice dish is the addition of green Spanish olives and saffron. These ingredients add an extra layer of flavor that makes the dish a little sour (olives) with floral undertones (saffron). With the addition of turmeric, it makes the rice a lovely yellow color.

Of course, like always, I made some substitutions and additions. I am finally seeing the first vegetables pop up in my garden. Earlier this week I picked a handful of sugar snap peas and a small yellow squash. I sliced the sugar snap peas and used them in place of the frozen peas called for in the recipe, which was quite lovely, they were sweet and had a great texture to them. I also sliced the squash into rounds and added that to the dish as well. Unfortunately, I don't have any tomatoes in my garden yet, and the tomatoes at my grocery store looked dreadful, so I substituted about one cup of canned diced tomatoes that I drained and added to the pan. To compensate for the extra liquid, I cut back on the chicken broth and used one 14 ounce can of chicken broth instead of the 2 1/2 cups used in the original recipe. I think that worked really well because the tomatoes added a nice sweetness that balance out the briny-ness of the olives. Finally, to give the dish an extra Spanish flair I added 1/2 teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika.

I was quite surprised how much I liked this dish. I am not a big fan of olives, and when I do eat them, I prefer the Greek kalamata olives, not green olives. But luckily for me, I live next to a great specialty grocery store that has an olive bar, so I was able to pick up some green Spanish olives that were stuffed with red bell peppers. They were delicious. Another great recipe from Ellie. Be sure to check out Margaret's blog for the recipe as well as the Craving Ellie in My Belly blogroll to see what other bloggers did with their recipes!


AppleC said...

The dish looks great. Sometimes you just have to used canned tomatoes when fresh ones lack flavor.
I used sliced black olives. They made my job a little easier and..I'm not usually a fan of the pimento.

Kayte said...

It all looks just great...such fun to hear about everyone's own twist on what they add or subtract each week. The pea sub was a good one! Mark thought it needed more spicing but Matt and I liked it just fine. Definitely a repeat...yours looks wonderful.

Peggy said...

I think the sugar snap peas sound better than the frozen ones! It is a beautiful photo too. We really liked eating this and I enjoyed cooking it. And doesn't it always feel so good to think you are eating something that is good for you as well? Your paella looks delicious.

TeaLady said...

Great idea to add extra healthyness to this with the squash. And the peas, too. Our squash are gone, but we have plenty of maters.

The paella looks perfectly delicious.

Bri said...

Yours turned out fantastic! I wish I'd thought to add Spanish smoked paprika; what a great addition! I love sugar snap peas and probably would have loved them in this dish, as well.

Anonymous said...

Your substitutions sound amazing! Nothing tops fresh veggies from the garden, and I am a huge fan of green olives and an olve bar sounds heavenly! I've never had paella before but have been turned off on making it before because of the specialty pan and technique used.