Chicken and Shrimp Paella

When I was growing up, chicken and rice was a common meal. Rice was mixed with water and cream of mushroom soup, chicken pieces were added, and the whole dish was covered and baked for an hour. At my house today, the ubiquitous chicken and rice dinner is often something more exotic or elegant.

Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish. Saffron-scented rice is cooked with chicken, sausage and seafood. Cooked in a special paella pan, the dish is a spectacular presentation of culinary skill. I’ve taken the basic idea and created a quick and easy version that packs great flavor without requiring a lot of preparation time or a special pan.

Using packaged rice mix saves time while giving the dish a nice flavor. To cut preparation time further, purchase frozen chopped onion and bell peppers. For dishes like this one, the difference in quality isn’t noticeable in the final meal. Canned, diced tomatoes are also used to take advantage of another great convenience product.

Serve your paella with a simple green salad tossed with your favorite vinaigrette. Sliced pineapple, kiwi and other fruits topped with vanilla yogurt would be a nice, light dessert.

  • 1 pound chicken strips (2 cups)
  • 2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Chorizo or other smoked sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 10-ounce package Saffron Yellow Rice Mix
  • 1 16-ounce can low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen baby peas
Combine chicken strips, white wine, lime juice, Worcestershire and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside to marinate. Place olive oil in a large skillet with a tight fitting lid. Heat over medium-high and add smoked sausage, onions and bell peppers. Saute until vegetables are wilted and sausage begins to brown.

Drain chicken strips over a bowl and reserve the marinade. Add chicken to sausage and vegetables, stirring until chicken begins to brown. Stir in tomatoes, rice mix, 1 cup of chicken broth, and reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Stir occasionally, adding more chicken broth as necessary to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Stir in frozen peas and shrimp. Cover and continue cooking until shrimp is cooked, about 5 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.