Summer Series, Day Six: Seafood Paella
This, my friends. This is the quintessential dinner that melds together land and sea and balances the forces of nature to create an amazing meal that would make even mermaids and pirates cheer. With more protein than a Brazilian meat festival, this one pot recipe will make you lift your anchors and set full speed ahead toward the coast. And you’ll thank me for it. I thanked me for it– I’ve never made this dish before, but with so much fresh seafood available here in the Outer Banks, it was a challenge I was eager to attempt and declare victory for all.
There are a few more steps than normal because of the complexity of textures in paella (pronounced PIE-Ay-uhhhh) so bear with me and I’ll try to break it down step by step so you can recreate this on your next seaside adventure.
First, gather all of your ingredients. It’s helpful to know what goes in at what point so you can simplify your timing.
1. Brown your boneless, skinless chicken thighs over medium-high heat to get a quick sear on the outside. The chicken will have plenty of time to finish cooking the whole way through when it’s in the crock pot, but you want to seal in the flavor. After removing from heat, chop chicken into bite-size pieces.
2. Using the same skillet, brown the sliced andouille sausage quickly on both sides and remove from heat.
3. Put brown rice, seasonings, and fresh vegetables in the crock pot. Add broth and give it all a good stir. The turmeric and smoked paprika will flavor the entire dish but begins with this first step. Add bite-size pieces of chicken and cooked andouille sausage. Cook on low for six hours or until all liquid is absorbed.
4. After time is up, it’s ok to remove the crock pot lid at this point and give everything a really good stir. Try to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the crock pot.
5. Add seafoods– shrimp, sea scallops and clams. Be sure to properly clean your seafood before adding to the pot. A sandy clam does not add flavor! If you are peeling and deveining your own shrimp, you need THIS TOOL. Seriously, just get one for yourself at the start of this trip. (You’ll use it for the Crock Pot Low Country Boil as well.)
Cook on high for up to one hour– shrimp should be pink and clams should have all opened. You do not want to overcook seafood so try to be nearby for this last step.
And that’s it! You have just mastered the Old World, cultivated classic of a seafood paella (technically a mixed paella because of the chicken, but let’s focus on the gifts from the sea and the amazing local seafood markets located in the Outer Banks.)
Thank you to the owners of the Ooh La La beach house here in Avon. This dish used many of the tools and cooking accessories and your stocked kitchen did not disappoint. I had everything I needed to prep, clean and cook all of my ingredients for this meal. This kitchen set-up made everything easy, including a spacious dishwasher to handle my mess!
Crock Pot Seafood Paella
1.5 cups brown rice