Primal Paella

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I have always LOVED Spanish food, especially Paella, but I had never gotten around to making it myself. And I thought, what a perfect dish to make primal! Just simply swap the rice for cauliflower “rice.” There is so much flavor in this dish you won’t even know the difference. And it freezes really well for those days you just have no time to make a home-cooked meal. I don’t have a paella pan, but simply made this over the stove using a large sauce pan and then transferred it to a large stock pot. I bet it would be even better if you made it in a paella pan or dutch oven and finished it off in the oven.

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Primal Paella  (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

(Difficulty-Medium; Serves 4-6)

  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined ( I love that Trader Joe’s does this for you!)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 organic red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 8 oz. chorizo, sliced 1/2 inch thick, or ground (I used ground)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 head organic cauliflower, processed into “rice”
  • 3 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen green peas, thawed

Toss shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon garlic in a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika; set aside. Make rice by processing cauliflower florets in the food processor, using the grater blade. Set aside.

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Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer peppers to small plate and set aside.

IMAG0199Add 1 teaspoon oil to now-empty Dutch oven or pot. Add chicken pieces in single layer; cook until browned, about 3 minutes  on each side. Transfer chicken to medium bowl. Reduce heat to medium and add chorizo; cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl with chicken and set aside.

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Add enough oil to fat in pot to equal 2 tablespoons; heat over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes; Add remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes; cook until mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in cauliflower rice and cook until well coated with tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, wine, saffron, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, cover pot and cook about 20-30 minutes, until cauliflower absorbs most of the liquid and becomes tender.

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Return chicken and chorizo to pot, increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Scatter shrimp over rice, arrange bell pepper strips in pinwheel pattern, and scatter peas over top. Cover and cook until shrimp are opaque, 10 to 12 minutes. IMAG0207

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**This beautiful bowl was hand-crafted by my Uncle Greg-check out more of his work here!

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