spicy apricot sausage paella

In culinary experiments, dinner, easy weeknight meals, ethnic food, tapas on 06.11.11 at 10:44 am

homemade paella, oh yes. :) some might say that food is a cultural experience, and i totally embraced it that evening. cooking dinner past nine. chatting it up with a good friend. listening to some lively tunes. my own little kitchen fiesta. :) totally reminded me of good times & good food while traveling through spain during my first european backpacking adventures after university. ah, the memories…

a wave of nostalgia came over me at the local farmers’ market on the weekend. i found this smoked spicy mexican chorizo at the butcher’s counter and it inspired me to cook homemade paella for the first time. another happy culinary experiment!

prep the paella:
– 1 bunch scallions or green onion (remove bottom rooted stems, diced)
– 1 ring of smoked spicy mexican chorizo sausage (sliced rounds)
– 1 heirloom tomato (rough chop)
– 2 cups crimini mushrooms (washed well, sliced)
– 4 fresh apricots (pitted, sliced)

paella is a traditional dish from valencia in east coastal spain. there many variations of ingredients in paella, but in its most authentic form, according to wikipedia, paella is cooked over an open fire and infused with flavours of orange and pine cones. since cooking in a paellera (traditional paella pan) over an open fire isn’t really an option for many of us, the happy alternative is cooking paella in a wok stove-top with flavours of apples, apricots & fresh tarragon. ah, the joys of urban living.

wok it up:
– heat up 1.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (evo0) in large wok on medium to high heat

– sauté scallions or green onion until slightly browned
– add spicy chorizo to wok, toss & sauté w/ green onion for 2-3min
– add tomatoes & mushrooms to wok & sauté for 1-2min
– drizzle 1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
– add apricots & a dash of sea salt
– season w/ ground black peppercorns
– sprinkle 2 tbsp fresh french tarragon (finely chopped)
– fold ingredients, sauté & simmer for a few min until chorizo is cooked through and flavours are well incorporated

(tip: to save time, you may want to start cooking the orzo at the same time as the other ingredients. or, you can also cook the orzo the night before; just make sure you give it a bit of time to get to room temperature after removing from the refrigerator.)

the orzo:
– boil 4 cups water in large pot
– add 1.5 cups uncooked orzo to boiling water
– cook for approx 10-12min until orzo is plump & tender (do not overcook)
– drain well and rinse off starchy water. set aside.

paella in a pan:
– add 1-1.5 cups cooked orzo to the other ingredients in wok (depending on your ratio preference of orzo to meat & veg)
– fold ingredients & stir for 1-2 until well incorporated and orzo is slightly toasted

food styling:
– for a more rustic look, i like to dish up paella into small individual ramekins.
– or for a sharing feast, place the paella in a large, shallow serving bowl.

note to self: next time, i’ll have to pair the paella with some of my crowd-pleasing, red wine sangria! yummers.

  1. I didn’t realize that the authentic stuff called for pine cones and orange. I love your take on it! And that sounds like a fun evening. I love cooking for friends.


  2. What an incredible flavoured paella. If I could have a glass of Chardonnay with my portion please.
    :-) Mandy


    • thanks, mandy! a chardonnay would be fantastic. i paired this dish with a riesling, and the sweetness of the wine worked well to balance out the spicy flavours of the paella.


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