Almost Chicken Paella

by zesty on February 18, 2009 · 23 comments

Mid week is here and I have a creative dish to share… or so I think.  I wanted to make Paella for a while now but I realized that I did not have a lot of the ingredients on hand. That in turn means that zesty improvises - uh oh look out.

This classic Spanish dish, named after the traditional two-handled pan, can be prepared with a variety of meats, shellfish, and vegetables. You don’t need a paella pan to make this meal. Use a wide, shallow saute pan with a lid.

Paella is usually flavored and colored with saffron, the world’s most expensive spice.  Since I don’t have that – I used  paprika and turmeric instead, which are less expensive but create an equally tasty dish. I also jazzed this Paella dish up with some additional spices. For some reason, I am loving spicy rice dishes as of late.

Take look below for the step by step pictures to whip up this super easy “Almost Paella” dish.


  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 Chicken Breasts ( sliced )
  • 1 Cup Bell Peppers ( sliced )
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms ( chopped )
  • 1 Cup Carrots ( chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Long-Grain Rice
  • 1/4 Tsp. Paprika
  • 1/4 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1/4 Tsp. Ground Turmeric
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 can (14.5 ounces each) Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • Coarse Salt and Ground Pepper


  1. Prepare paste by adding sweet chili sauce, turmeric, red pepper flakes and paprika.
  2. Chicken Paella

  3. In a heavy 12-inch saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken with paste until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes (do not overcook). Transfer to a plate.
  4. Chicken Paella

    Chicken Paella

  5. Add remaining tablespoon oil, mushrooms, carrot, bell peppers to pan; cook over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
  6. Chicken Paella

    Chicken Paella

    Chicken Paella

  7. Add chicken back in to the pan once mushrooms has released their liquid.
  8. Chicken Paella

    Chicken Paella

  9. Add garlic and rice; cook, stirring to coat, until rice is translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. Chicken Paella

    Chicken Paella

  11. Stir in tomatoes, and broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.
  12. Chicken Paella

  13. Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  15. Chicken Paella

  16. Cover, and cook until rice is tender and has absorbed almost all liquid, 20 to 25 minutes.
  17. Shave some Parmesan Cheese over using a vegetable peeler.
  18. Serve immediately.
  19. Enjoy!

Zesty Tip: When cooking rice with a non traditional method like this (using tomatoes, stock) it is a good idea to watch the moisture content throughout the process and if it is drying out add more liquid.  If you find it to moist after the cooking time simple cook for a while with the lid off and let the moisture evaporate.

Question of the Day:  What kind of rice do you normally buy?

Take care


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