Life After Corn Paella

2-3 Tablespoons bacon fat
6 – 8 stalks of celery, finely diced
1” knob fresh ginger, finely diced
3 chicken breasts, cubed into about 1/2” pieces
4 cups button mushrooms
Salt, non-iodized, and pepper (believe it or not, you need to be careful to avoid corn, and even wheat or soy)
2 cups paella rice, or other short-grain white rice
1 Tablespoon saffron threads
4 cups chicken broth (I make my own to avoid corn and onions)
2 cups tomatoes, strained or diced or puréed (ensure no citric acid; Italian brands are a better bet than North American)
2 – 3 cups scallops, the very small kind (about 1/2” diameter), rinsed well
2 – 3 cups small shrimp, rinsed well (cooked or uncooked, doesn’t matter too much)
~ 1 – 1-1/2 lbs fresh mussels, washed well and and beards cleanly trimmed
Optional: a few flakes of chili flakes

Sauté celery and ginger in bacon fat in a large, heavy pan (I used a 15” cast iron pan) until golden brown.

Add chicken cubes and sauté until golden.

Add mushrooms and continue sautéing until they start to release their liquid.

Add carefully-selected salt and pepper.

Add saffron threads and stir well.

Stir in rice and sauté about 3-5 minutes to let it absorb lots of flavours.

Add chicken broth and tomatoes, stir well, and cover to simmer over very gentle heat for about 20 minutes, until rice is nearly soft.

Add scallops and shrimp and stir in well to cover in flavours. If you need more liquid (I did, added about ~1 cup), add some water and stir it in well to keep it all from sticking.

Place mussels on top. Cover again. Steam gently for about 7-8 minutes or so until scallops are opaque and mussels have popped open.

(If any mussels don’t open, toss them.)


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