Chicken Paella

Chicken Paella

Paella is probably Spain’s most popular dish.  It originated in the Valencia region located in Eastern Spain but can be found worldwide specially in countries that were once part of colonial Spain namely Cuba and the Philippines where it is also call Arroz Valenciana.

The word Paella mean “pan” in the Valencian dialect.  It is usually made and served in a “paella” pan which is basically a somewhat flat shallow skillet with or without a cover.  It is typically made with Bomba rice, a short grain rice variety cultivated in Spain’s eastern region.  Traditional Valencian Paella includes some type of meat such as chicken, duck, or rabbit, and some type of green bean.  It’s iconic yellow colored rice is achieved by adding saffron threads while cooking.

In modern time Paella has been adapted to use ingredients easily found in different areas of the country.  One of the most popular, an my favorite is Paella de Marisco which is seafood mixed with the rice.  This usually has shrimp, mussels or clams, squid, and sometimes lobster; is usually omits the vegetables.  Then there’s Paella Mixta which combines meats including Chorizo (Spanish pork sausage), seafood, and vegetables.  In short these days you can pretty much put whatever you want in a pealla.  My husband prefers chicken or vegetarian Paella.

When I was growing up surrounded by grandmothers, aunts, and uncles many of whom were fantastic cooks, Arroz Valenciana or Paella was a treat.  It would certainly be on a party menu, specially at Christmas.  These days I usually have to get my Paella fix in Spain.  It’s always one of our favorites when we’re in Barcelona, Majorca, or any part of Spain.

But since our yearly visits to Spain will not be possible this year we’ve found ourselves missing our favorite Spanish foods.  That’s why I’ve been making tapas boards lately.  I’ve also been making Paella.  In fact I’ve been making it often enough that’s I’ve recently decided to order a paella pan.

Today I’ll share my recipe for Chicken Paella because it’s ingredients are probably the easiest to find.  In fact you may already have it in your kitchen pantry.  I mentioned that Paellas are typically made with Bomba rice, but it’s not always easy to find in the US, at least in Hawaii.  I usually use Japanese short grain rice, the type you use to make sushi which is always found at any Asian market.  Saffron is not easily found in regular supermarkets  because it’s pretty expensive.  I usually buy Saffron when I’m in Turkey or the Middle East where it’s readily available at the local spice markets at a reasonably lower price.  If you don’t have Saffron you can use ground Turmeric to tint the rice yellow, but don’t use too much as it will leave a different flavor than what you want to achieve.  I’d use no more than a teaspoon of turmeric powder dissolved in a cup of chicken stock.

Chicken Paella

Ingredients:

1/2 Tsp. Crushed Saffron Threads

1/2 Cup White Wine

1/8 Cup Olive Oil

6-8 Chicken Thighs Bone-In with Skin

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Onion Chopped

2 Tbl. Minced Garlic

1 Tbs. Fresh Thyme chopped

1 1/2 Cup uncooked Bomba or other short grain rice

3 Cups Chicken Stock

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Small Bag Frozen Peas

1 Red Pepper cut into strips

American Parsley – chopped (optional)

Lemon Wedges (optional)

Directions:

Stir Saffron into wine and set aside.

Heat Olive Oil in Paella pan or large skillet.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

Place thighs in heated oil skin side down and cook until golden brown, about 6-7 minutes.

Turn over and cook another 4-5 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  (You may have to cook chicken in batches depending on how big your pan is and how many thighs you are using.)

Add onions, garlic, and thyme to pan.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stir constantly to keep it from burning.

Add Rice and cook another 2 minutes while stirring constantly.

Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half.

Stir in lemon juice and chicken stock.

Place chicken skin side  up on top of rice, cover, reduce heat to medium.

Simmer about 18 minutes until rice is almost cooked, it should be “al dente”.

Remove cover and add peas and pepper evenly over the pan.

Turn up heat to medium high and cook another 5 minutes or until rice begins to brown on the bottom and sides.

Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve hot with lemon wedges.

This dish pairs well with a pitcher of Sangria or a nice bottle of fruity red wine or a Chardonnay for white wine lovers.


Chicken Paella
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Chicken Paella
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Spaghetti ai Frutti de Mare – Seafood Spaghetti

Spaghetti ai Frutti de Mare – Seafood Spaghetti

 

In recent years we’ve been constant visitors to Italy.  We’ve always loved the country and have been vacationing there at least once a year, but since my daughter and her family have taken up residence in Vicenza, a small town in Northern Italy, we’ve been going more often.  And when we do go we spend lots of time sampling the local cuisine in and around town, it’s a different experience when you dine where the locals dine and by pass the touristy restaurants that serve substandard fare at very high prices.

One of our favorite local restaurants in town is called Regina’s.  Its a tiny place with seating for less than 20 people.  But the service if friendly and the food delicious!  My favorite dish is Spaghetti ai Frutti de Mare or Seafood Spaghetti.  I know when you think spaghetti you think red sauce and meatballs.  That’s good too, but if you’re hungry for Seafood or just want something a bit more sophisticated then this dish is just what you need.

Spaghetti ai Frutti de Mare is a pasta dish made with all types of seafood including clams, squid, shrimp, and muscles.  It can have a tomato based sauce like Arrabiata or a white sauce like a pesto or Alfredo.

I personally love a lighter sauce made with white wine, lemon juice, and butter.  That’s the recipe I’ll share today.  I normally make it with shrimp, clams, mussels, and lobster if I can find some.  You can use whatever seafood you prefer.  It’s good with pretty much any type of seafood.

Here’s the recipe!

This article contains affiliate links.

Ingredients:

1 Lb. Clams

1 Lb. Mussels

1 Lb. Shrimp – peeled and deveined but leave tail on

2-3 Small Lobster Tails – cut into 1 1/5″ pieces with shell on

1 Tbs. Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Butter

2-3 Cloves Garlic thinly sliced

1 Tsp. Italian Seasoning

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Cup White Wine

2 Cups Chicken Broth

1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1/4 Cup Sundried Tomatoes

1 Lb. Cooked Spaghetti

Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

In a large pan melt butter in olive oil.

Saute garlic in butter mixture until it starts to cook, be careful not to burn.

Add seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.

Add wine and chicken stock.

Add clams and mussels.  Cook until shells open.

Add lobster pieces and cook until shell starts to turn red and meat starts to turn white.

Add shrimp.  Cook until shrimp turns pink and lobster is fully cooked.

Lower heat and stir in lemon juice and sundried tomatoes.

Remove from heat and serve over cooked pasta.  Garnish with shredded cheese.


Spaghetti ai Frutti de Mare - Seafood Spaghetti
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Spaghetti ai Frutti de Mare - Seafood Spaghetti
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Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce

Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce

Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce, wow!  Sounds fancy doesn’t it?  Sounds like something you’d order in a fancy Italian restaurant.  It brings to mind the city of Milan, one of the world’s most fashionable city.

The name doesn’t lie, Chicken Milanese simply means Chicken made Milan style.  It is one of the signature dishes of Milan; in Italian it’s called “Pollo alla Milanese”.  Are you impressed yet? Traditionally it was made with veal, Cotoletta alla Milanese, but chicken has become a popular alternative.

Well let me tell you the first time I ever had Pollo alla Milanese was in a chic little restaurant in Cernobbio, a town on Lake Como about 40 kilometers away from Milan.  And yes I ordered it because I thought with such a grand name it must be something different.  Imagine my surprise when the waiter set a fried chicken cutlet in front of me and it didn’t even have any gravy!

Yup that’s what Pollo alla Milanese is, a battered and fried chicken cutlet.  If we were talking Southern cooking it would be called chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak if veal were used instead of chicken.

But because it’s an Italian style cutlet it’s not smothered in gravy and served with mashed potatoes and corn, like the perfect Southern comfort food.  Instead it’s usually served with a bed of crisp fresh greens like an arugula salad.  Instead of gravy they usually squeeze a slice of lemon over the cutlet or top it with a light lemony butter sauce.  As far as I can determine that’s the only difference between chicken fried chicken and Chicken Milanese.

Well whatever you call it it’s still delicious!  A bit fussy to make (you have to cut, pound, dredge, dip, bread, and fry) but so worth the time and trouble.  I make it at home and serve it both ways, Milanese and fried cutlet with gravy, depending on what I’m hungry for.  Either way my family loves them!

Here’s the recipe for Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce!

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Ingredients:

4 Pieces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – sliced horizontally to make 8 thin slices

2 Cups Flour

3 Eggs beaten

2 Cups Panko or breadcrumbs – I prefer Panko which can be found at Asian Markets, but bread crumbs work fine

1 Tbs Garlic Powder

2 Tbs Italian Seasoning

1/4 Cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Oil for frying

For the Sauce:

4 Tbs Butter

1 Tsp Minced Garlic

1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1/2 Cup Chicken Stock

1/2 Cup White Wine

1 Tsp Italian Seasoning

2 Tbs Lemon Juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

Procedure:

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap – you will have to do this with 2-4 pieces at a time

Using a kitchen mallet pound breasts to 1/4″ thickness

Pounding chicken breasts between plastic wrap keeps chicken juices from splattering all over the kitchen counters.

Set aside while you get the other ingredients ready.

Mix flour and garlic powder together and place in a shallow dish or bowl

Beat eggs in another shallow dish or bowl

Mix Panko with grated cheese and Italian seasoning in another shallow dish or bowl

Line bowls up in order (flour, egg, Panko) next to the stove.  This makes the frying process so much easier and neater.

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Oil will be hot enough if it sizzles when you drop a piece of panko in it.

Dredge a slice of chicken in flour making sure both sides are completely covered

Dip both sides of chicken in egg

Dip both sides of chicken in Panko mixture

Place in frying pan and fry both sides about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown

Drain on paper towel

Serve with Roasted Potatoes and Lemon Butter Sauce

 

Sauce:

Melt 1 Tbl Butter in saucepan

Saute garlic in butter until it starts to brown

Stir in cream, stock, and wine until well combined

Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat

Whisk in remaining butter 1 tbs at a time

Stir in seasoning and lemon juice

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Serve over Chicken Milanese

 


Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce
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Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce
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Ingredients
Chicken
Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
Chicken
  1. Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap - you will have to do this with 2-4 pieces at a time Using a kitchen mallet pound breasts to 1/4" thickness Pounding chicken breasts between plastic wrap keeps chicken juices from splattering all over the kitchen counters. Set aside while you get the other ingredients ready.
  2. Mix flour and garlic powder together and place in a shallow dish or bowl Beat eggs in another shallow dish or bowl Mix Panko with grated cheese and Italian seasoning in another shallow dish or bowl Line bowls up in order (flour, egg, Panko) next to the stove.  This makes the frying process so much easier and neater.
  3. place in a shallow dish or bowl Beat eggs in another shallow dish or bowl Mix Panko with grated cheese and Italian seasoning in another shallow dish or bowl Line bowls up in order (flour, egg, Panko) next to the stove.  This makes the frying process so much easier and neater. Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Oil will be hot enough if it sizzles when you drop a piece of panko in it. Dredge a slice of chicken in flour making sure both sides are completely covered Dip both sides of chicken in egg Dip both sides of chicken in Panko mixture
  4. Place in frying pan and fry both sides about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown Drain on paper towel Serve with Roasted Potatoes and Lemon Butter Sauce
Sauce
  1. Melt 1 Tbl Butter in saucepan Saute garlic in butter until it starts to brown Stir in cream, stock, and wine until well combined Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat Whisk in remaining butter 1 tbs at a time Stir in seasoning and lemon juice Season with salt and pepper to taste Serve over Chicken Milanese
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Baked Shrimp Scampi

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp ScampiFor some reason guests seem to be impressed with you serve seafood, as long as they’re not allergic to it.  Serving extra large shrimp is always a crowd pleaser; making them into Shrimp Scampi makes it more impressive.  I could never figure out why, since Shrimp Scampi is so easy to make, the only down side in my opinion is that you have to saute the shrimp just before you serve it.  Regular scampi does not taste good cold.

I love this baked version because you can prep it before guests arrive and pop it in the oven just before you serve it.  Baked Scampi leaves you free to chat with your guests instead of sauteing in the kitchen.  I added this dish to our Christmas dinner this year when we had several unexpected out of town relatives in town.  I prepThey loved it!

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white wine (or chicken stock for non-alcoholic version)
1 lemon
2 pounds large or extra large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 stick butter – melted
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Chopped parsley

Directions:

1.  Pour wine into 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

2.  Squeeze lemon juice over wine.  Set pan aside.

3.  Place shrimp, crushed pepper, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil in large bowl.

4.  Toss shrimp to coat with oil mixture.

5.  Place shrimp in a single layer in baking pan.

6.  Melt butter and place panko in melted butter.  Stir until butter is evenly absorbed in panko.

7.  Sprinkle panko mixture over shrimp.

8.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until shrimp is pink.  Do not over cook.

Serve immediately.  You can serve this over pasta or with mashed potatoes.

Baked Shrimp Scampi
Print Recipe
A crowd pleaser! This new twist on the classic shrimp dish is so easy to make, guests will think you spent hours perfecting it!
Servings Prep Time
8 People 15 Minutes
Cook Time
15 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 People 15 Minutes
Cook Time
15 Minutes
Baked Shrimp Scampi
Print Recipe
A crowd pleaser! This new twist on the classic shrimp dish is so easy to make, guests will think you spent hours perfecting it!
Servings Prep Time
8 People 15 Minutes
Cook Time
15 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 People 15 Minutes
Cook Time
15 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: People
Instructions
  1. Pour wine into 9" x 13" baking pan.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice over wine. Set pan aside.
  3. Place shrimp, crushed pepper, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil in large bowl.
  4. Toss shrimp to coat with oil mixture.
  5. Place shrimp in a single layer in baking pan.
  6. Melt butter and place panko in melted butter. Stir until butter is evenly absorbed in panko.
  7. Sprinkle panko mixture over shrimp.
  8. Bake in 425 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until shrimp is pink. Do not over cook.
  9. Serve immediately. You can serve this over pasta or with mashed potatoes.
Recipe Notes

Panko is an Asian type of coarse plain breadcrumbs.  If you can't find Panko you can substitute plain breadcrumbs.

To make a non-alcoholic version substitute chicken broth for the wine.

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