Mmm, paella! This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was Chicken Paella with Sausage and Olives, chosen by Margaret of Tea and Scones. It seems that CEIMB will be able to live on, after all! Marthe of Culinary Delights has taken over the blogging group, so we are definitely moving forward and continuing to cook fantastic dishes week after week. Very exciting!
Now, onto this week's dish. This was a great one, possibly one of my favorites to come out of Ellie's So Easy cookbook so far. First of all, paella is something I usually think of in my mind as something that will be very labor intensive and take forever to make. I think it's been a couple years since I have attempted to make a paella, and I do recall it taking quite a while. It's a Spanish dish, and I believe it is traditionally cooked in a special paella pan, which makes the rice in the dish kind of crisp and crunchy on the bottom.
Fortunately, you do not need any special equipment for Ellie's version, and you do not have to slave over a hot stove all day, either. This relatively simple chicken and rice dish is a one-pot wonder that just requires some chopping, sauteeing, and a final cook in the oven. It's worry-free and tastes like it was a lot more complicated than it was.
For the sausage in the dish, you would normally use a chorizo. I found some "Soy-rizo" at Trader Joe's that I decided to use in its place. One big difference between regular chorizo and my meatless version was the casings. Ellie has you remove the casings and slice the chorizo into thin slices. My "Soy-rizo" had a thin plastic casing on it, and once removed the sausage underneath was crumbly, much like ground meat. So you can't really see any of my sausage in the pictures of the dish, but it is there. It's just tiny and finely ground. It was delicious, though; the meatless sausage worked out great! I also used chicken breast instead of chicken thighs, and I didn't really miss the thighs.
I'm so glad I used the olives; I was wary of them because I haven't been the hugest fan of them in the past. They really added something this time, though. I loved them. I loved the peas, too; they imparted a nice texture to the proceedings, a bright pop in your mouth every now and then.
This dish is seasoned relatively sparsely, but it has such a fabulous flavor. You throw in some salt, pepper, turmeric, and a pinch of saffron threads. And that's really all you need. The dish has a slow-cooked, rich flavor that I just didn't feel the need to improve upon. All in all, very satisfying and a big success!
Next week will be my pick for the group! I'm really looking forward to that. In the meantime, this recipe can be found here. I had to do a quick Google search to find that link, because I couldn't find it on Food Network's site like I normally can with Ellie's recipes. You can also check the CEIMB site to find out how the other members fared this week. And a big thank you to Margaret for the excellent choice!