I have always had this weird obsession with paellas. They are so bold and bright with deep flavors. One of the reasons I believe they are often forgotten is the hefty price tag associated with the dish. Saffron is one of the most common ingredients found in paella. This spice is usually around $15 for a handful. While I LOVE saffron I decided to trade it out for smoked paprika. You will still get a bold flavor and instead of the rich yellow or orange the paprika turns the rice a deep red.
Another easy swap is using andouille sausage over the typical cured Spanish chorizo. When you pan fry the andouille you still get a ton of flavor to develop in a short amount of time. I love sauteing my veggies with the fried sausage to really add depth to every bite.
My grocery store does not have paella rice ready available so I switched it for arborio rice. Arborio rice is just tiny enough to soak up every little bit of broth. I actually kept adding extra broth to make sure I still had a little sauce for my bread. I skipped out on the mussels just because those are not my personal favorite. You can definitely add a few in at the end. Boneless skinless chicken thighs and shrimp are what I look forward to in a paella. Both of these proteins usually have great prices in my area especially if you have a Sprouts farmers market near by.
While I do believe an authentic paella taste is extremely hard to replicate without saffron- this affordable version is just as soul satisfying to me. It is such a beautiful dish and packed full of flavor. Honestly this came together so quickly as well. If you are looking to impress on a budget, this is the recipe to make!
- 1 pound of chopped boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of chili powder
- 1 tsp of red pepper
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup of chopped onions
- 1 cup of stewed fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 tbsp of chopped garlic
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- fully cooked sliced andouille sausage
- 1 pound of shrimp shelled with tails on
- 1½ cups of arborio rice
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- lemon wedges
- Heat a large paella pan or saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil.
- Add chopped onion and sausage.
- Fry until onions begin to be slightly translucent and the edges of the sausage starts to brown.
- Remove the sausage and set to the side.
- Add in the chicken and cook until golden brown.
- Add garlic and rice.
- Season with salt and pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, red pepper and chili powder.
- Add in the stewed tomatoes and stir until all the rice is covered.
- Pour the broth over the top and stir into the rice.
- Bring to a boil.
- Lower to medium low heat.
- Add the sausage back in then cover.
- Cook for about 10 minutes.
- If your broth evaporates before the rice is done just add a little more on top.
- The important part is to make sure you do not stir the rice at all.
- When the rice is almost done (about 15 minutes) add the shrimp on top.
- Salt and pepper then cover.
- When all the liquid has absorbed and you start to hear a little crackling the rice is done.
- If you are unsure then just test the rice to make sure it has finished.
- Sprinkle with parsley and squeeze a little lemon over the top.
- I finish mine with Tabasco!
I know this is going to be one of my go to recipes this summer. Even Patrick’s kids ate their entire bowls! I don’t think this dish is too spicy. You can always omit the red pepper. I love the heat so I added lots of hot sauce to my bowl 🙂
Let me know if you try this recipe! I know you will love it!