Last week, it was too hot to eat until after dark. So after grazing on fruit all day, I wanted something hot and satisfying for dinner that I could cook in one pot. This paella was easy to make with things I almost always have in the house (sausages in the freezer, rice, chicken stock, white wine, frozen peas), but felt special because I used saffron, something I treat myself to rarely.
Saffron is one of the key ingredients of a good paella. It can be a stupidly expensive spice, but Trader Joe’s sells Spanish saffron for under $10 for more than a gram. (Compare that to the exorbitant $30 that the Spice Station in Silver Lake tried to charge me for less than a gram of Spanish saffron…no, thanks!)
I made this with a purple rice mix from the Thai grocery store and it tasted great, but I’d use a softer and more absorbent grain next time. I also used chicken and apple sausages, because that’s what I had in the freezer, but this dish would be even better with chorizo or some kind of spicy fresh sausage.
A tip for cooking rice: when the liquid is almost absorbed, don’t stir the rice anymore. You’ll see bubbles or holes form in the surface when it’s nearly done. Then put your ear close (without burning it!) and listen to hear if the liquid is still bubbling in the bottom. When you don’t hear or see the water bubbling anymore, the rice is done.
Easy Sausage Paella
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup rice
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 2 chopped small tomatoes
- 2 chicken sausages
- 1 cup frozen peas
- pinch oregano
- pinch saffron threads
- pinch dried red chili flakes
- olive oil
In a quart pan, cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until they start to soften. Chop sausage and brown it (or cook it through if it’s fresh) with onions and garlic. Remove and set aside. Add more olive oil and rice to pan. Brown rice for 2-3 minutes, adding oregano and red chili flakes. Add wine, chicken stock, and saffron. Simmer until rice begins to soften, about 15 minutes depending on the variety of rice you’re cooking. Add chopped tomatoes, and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in frozen peas and sausage and onion mixture. Serve hot.