A Modern Version of an Ancient Paella: Saffron Rice with Chicken, Shrimp, Stringbeans, and Snails
- 1/2 pound medium-size shrimp (about 12)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coarse black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large chicken thighs, boned, each cut in quarters
- 2 ounces chorizo, sliced thin
- 2 large shallots, chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 ounces string beans, cut in 1/2-inch lengths
- 1 cup Spanish short-grained rice (or use Italian short-grained rice)
- 1/2 cup very finely minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 cups rich chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
- 12 large canned snails
- 1 large red pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded (optional)
- Butterfly each shrimp by cutting along the back, through the shell, to remove the black vein.
- Rinse, then spread each shrimp wide open, leaving the shell on.
- Sprinkle with salt and the freshly ground black pepper.
- Set aside for 1/2 hour.
- In a large, heavy pan, with a tight-fitting lid - preferably a large wok - heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper, then add them to the hot oil, skin-side down.
- Cook for 2 minutes, or until the skin just begins to brown.
- Add the chorizo slices, and toss them with the chicken.
- Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the shallots, garlic and string beans.
- Mix well.
- Add the rice and half of the parsley, stirring to coat the rice thoroughly with oil.
- Add the chicken stock, saffron and paprika.
- Stir well.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Lift the cover, embed the shrimp in the top part of the rice, then scatter the snails around the shrimp.
- If you are using the red pepper, cut it into 8 strips and arrange it in the rice in a decorative pattern.
- Cover, and cook for 10 minutes more, or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just cooked.
- Serve at the table out of the cooking vessel, sprinkling the portions with the remaining parsley.