This is my version of party food. Dinner party food.
Even if a dinner party is just you and New Girl.
Or because it’s Tuesday.
Or that you just want to be a little fancy.
Or, because you just bought the The Simply Real Health Cookbook and can’t wait to try some of the dinner recipes.
A party is always
complimented by revolves around great food.
And just a bonus when it happens to be really good for you too, and makes enough for awesome leftovers for the week [making the extra little effort so much more worthwhile, am I right?]
So, this one is one of my favorites. Because Spain in my favorite.
And because using seasonal food is also.
It also happens to be way cheaper and better tasting way to cook and eat, then buying the same things every single week.
And less boring.
So, a little paella is happening today……but simplified. Because you know that’s the only way I roll. Even when I have people over for dinner. Actually, especially when I have people over for dinner.
For those of you that don’t know anything about this awesome Spanish style dish, paella is traditionally made with assorted seafood (mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp), a tomato sofrito (onions, garlic and tomatoes sauteed together), sausage, rice, peas and a few other things, cooked in a large skillet for over an hour.
Which is lovely when someone else is cooking it for you.
And not so when you’re cooking it yourself. My “simplifications” included:
1. The absence of mussels… or clams. I’m not sure if it’s the goopy texture or the fact that they look like a bulbous little growth that you’d clean off from the bottom of your garbage can; but needless to say, I’m not a wild fan. Wild shrimp is about as wild as it’s going to get on my stove.
2. Using quinoa instead of white rice- it cooks so much faster and has great protein too! Although white and brown rice or farro can work great here too to mix it up.
3. Cooking the sausage, quinoa and veggies separately first, then combining together. With more room in the pan, the sausage can brown, the veggies can crisp and the quinoa stays out of it until those are done.
It might be a little bit more work removing things from the pan, but it’s much better than cooking over the stove for an hour.
Organic Sausage, Shrimp + Quinoa Paella
* You will need a large skillet (ideally oven proof, like this Cast Iron Skillet) and a soup/stock pot
4 links organic chicken or Andouille sausage (in all natural sausage casings), sliced into coins
½ pound wild shrimp, pre-cooked
1 ½ cups quinoa or brown/wild/black rice plus 3 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 bell pepper, sliced
10 cremini or white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 pinch saffron
sea salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle of chili powder
1 lemon, sliced into wedges for serving
Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic until fragrant. Add mushrooms first, then peppers and sauté until brown.
In the meantime, cook quinoa/grains: Add 3 cups water and 1 ½ cups quinoa with a few dashes of sea salt to a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and keep covered for 10 minutes. Fluff when done.
Remove veggies from pan and set aside.
Add more oil to the pan and cook sausage pieces and shrimp -you may have to do it one at a time depending on space. Add peas in the last 3 minutes of cooking as well. Set aside.
Add quinoa, sea salt, pepper and the smoked paprika, saffron, tomato sauce, onions and garlic to a large bowl. Stir well to combine, then add to a oven proof skillet. Layer veggies, sausage, and shrimp on top to serve. Heat in the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with lemon wedges.