Monday, July 01, 2013

"Kitchen Sink" Paella

There are a couple of dishes in my repertoire used mainly to clean out the refrigerator.

After working in restaurants and having a refrigerator of my own for quite some time, I've learned that cleaning out the refrigerator is a good idea, but throwing away perfectly good food (perhaps because it's cluttering your space or has just a teeeeeeny tiny bit left in the jar) is not a good idea.

Enter this paella. Usually it's chili that claims the "kitchen sink" one-pot spot, but Cliff requested paella, I didn't feel like going out for ingredients, so I figured I'd make do with whatever was in the kitchen, the freezer and the fridge. And man, it turned out great.

Who'd have thought that a couple of things I have in the house on a regular basis could make such a delcious dish. Some all-beef hot dogs stood in for fancy sausage; a can of sardines (which I know many of you won't have in the house, but canned tuna would substitute nicely) was delicious for the fish element; a little pre-sliced deli chicken works to cut down cook time.

Other pantry/fridge staples: rice (I used Jasmine), turmeric (you know you have a bottle and don't know what it's for), frozen peas, onions and garlic.

Okay, paella, are you ready for your close-up? You look fabulous!
See the recipe below. Interchange the meats with whatever you might have on hand (SPAM! Kielbasa! Solid white tuna in oil or water!) and you'll end up with something delicious.

BONUS! A recipe for my "makeshift" sangria (pictured in the first photo) is at the bottom of the paella recipe. Enjoy!

Kitchen Sink Paella

(serves 4-5)

Olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced (or one diced fresh red bell pepper)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup Jasmine rice + 1.5 cups water
1 cup frozen peas
1 can sardines in water or olive oil, drained
2 all-beef hot dogs, sliced
1/2 cup diced chicken
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and garlic in hot olive oil until translucent. Add tomatoes and red peppers, cooking another 3-4 minutes or until some of the liquid from the tomatoes has released. Add spices (turmeric, garlic powder, ground ginger, cayenne) and stir until fragrant. Add rice and 1.5 cups water. Stir to combine with ingredients in the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Once the rice has cooked, fold in your chosen proteins (fish, chicken, sausage) and the frozen peas. Recover to heat the proteins and peas through, on low (or no) heat, another 3-5 minutes. Season to taste.

Makeshift Sangria

1 bottle red wine (doesn't have to be great -- in fact, it's better if it's not great)
1 cup creme de cassis
juice of one navel orange

Combine and serve over ice.

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