Leave it to an Iron Chef not only to find a way to prepare a traditionally involved dish simply and quickly, but also to guarantee flavorful, classic results with his made-over method. On this morning’s all-new seafood-focused episode of The Kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian took on the beloved Spanish dish of paella, known for its crimson-hued, saffron-scented rice, shellfish and meat — and its lengthy prep time. But instead of presenting a tried-and-true intricate recipe, he transformed the dish into something that’s easy enough to make in a Dutch oven, no special paella pan required.
In his recipe for Quick Paella with Chorizo, Shrimp and Chicken, GZ celebrates all of the tastes and textures you know and love, but he brings them to life in a can-do way. His secret is layering the ingredients: first building a flavor base of chorizo, garlic and onions, then adding the saffron for warmth and color, and finally bringing in the rice. After working in the moisture — white wine and chicken broth — he recommends leaving the dish alone to cook for about 20 minutes. This will allow the rice to absorb the liquid and become nearly tender. A seafood duo of shrimp and mussels, plus a generous addition of peas, brightens up the dish, and perhaps most importantly, promises authentic flavor just like that of classic paellas.