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Chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas in about an hour!

        There’s no one dish supper quite on the level of a great paella.  It combines protein–sometimes several of them–with carbohydrates and then, for good measure, adds some vegetables. The one big drawback to paella is the interminable time a good one takes to make.  So this recipe from Bon Appetit caught my eye when the magazine put it in a feature called ‘Fresh and Easy Dinners’. It actually toppped their list, and was pictured on their cover.  If you’re ever had a paella in Spain, you know it is hardly ‘quick’ and involves a special paella pan. But this one uses any heavy skillet you have on hand and gets dinner on the table in about an hour.  Considering my memories of paella, that’s simply astonishing.

          I distinctly remember being in Spain with my elderly parents when we ordered Paella for lunch in the Andulusian countryside.   The paella took an interminable amount of time to get to the table.  In the meantime, almonds and a enormous quantity of Sherry were served first and this proved to be a mistake.   A good hour passed of drinking the sherry and nibbling on the almonds.  Despite its gentile reputation, Sherry is high in alcohol at about 20{4e4771bbe073b579fdd8e596ee487f65145483febbc8ba0a80525f62b26cad86}.  Compare that to a glass of Chardonnay at 13{4e4771bbe073b579fdd8e596ee487f65145483febbc8ba0a80525f62b26cad86}.    By the time the paella appeared, both my parents had literally nodded off at the table.  I remember having to apologize profusely as I tucked into the paella solo. 

        Fortunately, this recipe lets you use any large skillet and, while I missed the crunchy rice that the traditional paella pan assures, the flavors are outstanding. It makes a wonderful mid-week casserole.  And, true to Bon Appetit’s word, it is certainly is a lot quicker to the table than my Andulusian version was.  You might have time for only a glass or two of sherry and it will be ready to serve.   The addition of the Sugar Snap peas adds both crunch and a wonderful green accent to the dish.  And Sugar Snaps say Spring to me.  Here’s the recipe: 

* Sometimes labeled Pimentón Dulce or Pimentón de La Vera Dulce; available at some supermarkets, at specialty foods stores, and at Penzey’s in Grand Central Market, NY and from latienda.com.
** Spanish chorizo, a pork-link sausage flavored with garlic and spices, is milder than Mexican chorizo. It’s available at specialty foods stores and Spanish markets and from latienda.com.

8 thoughts on “Chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas in about an hour!”

  • A tip for the saffron threads:
    Much more effective in releasing the smoky flavour of this spice is to wrap saffron threads in foil and heat in the oven briefly. This will dry the safforn which can then be crumbled into a powder. Be sure not to burn it, however, of it will be ruined. Michael

  • Lauren, there's a chicken chorizo at TJs that would fill the bill. What you are looking for is a little heat so think about adding Italian Hot Sausage as well.

  • Hi KC, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I too love the simplicity of one dish dinners. This one is a winner and I hope you will enjoy it again and again. All best to you!

  • Monte,
    We just returned from 8 days at Villa ACE in St. Barths where we enjoyed reading your restaurant recommendations immensely. Went to L'Espirit, L'isoletta and Meat and Potatoes for the first time and loved all of them. Bonito has been one of our favorites for years, and we were saddened by the absence of PaCri and their fabulous truffle ravioli from last year's trip. Another coincidence I found interesting after reading your blog….we were in Yountville on April 25 at Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc and Jacques Pepin happened to be dining there that evening! Anyway, I am pleased to have discovered your blog and look forward to our next trip to the French West Indies next year!

    Carol and Jim
    Fredericksburg, Texas

  • Dear Carol and Jim, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to 'comment' on the blog post and for sharing your experiences in St. Barth. We really missed PaCri and had the most unfortunate experience of going to the restaurant that's replaced it at Taiwana. I didn't want to "rag" on any restaurant that we'd only been to once, but it made us miss PaCri all the more. We've already booked ACE for next March and even this far out, cannot wait to go back to SBH. All best to you and once again, thanks for posting!

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