Spain-ish Rice

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The combination of chicken thighs and cauliflower strikes me as rather Spanish in flavor. So I wanted to make a kind of paella. Problem is, I haven’t made a paella since I was in the 8th grade.

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1. Crisp it: put some oil in a big skillet. I don’t have a fancy paella pan. But I do have a big ol’ cast iron skillet. Put some chicken in, skin side down. Once the skin is getting crispy, add half an onion and red pepper, diced.

2. Flip it: Once the veggies start to soften, flip the chicken over. Cook for another couple minutes.

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3. Stock it: Add about two cups of stock. I had two pucks of frozen beef stock (1C per puck). Once it melted, I used a spatula to pick up the crispy bits that had stuck to the pan. Also, I wasn’t about to spend the money to add saffron to this pan. But I did add a lot of pepper and paprika.

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4. Rice it: I didn’t have fancy arborio rice. But I always have Japanese or Korean rice. It’s short grain, it’s sticky when cooked, and I figured it would be close enough. Add 1C of rice and let the rice, veggies, and stock come to a boil for a while. Now that I think about, I supposed I should have added the rice before the stock, but whatever.

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5. Add it: add the chicken back to the pan. And add the florets of 1 small head of cauliflower. Over the past decade or so, I’ve noticed that cauliflower keeps getting smaller and smaller. I dont know if I’m the only one who’s noticed that.

6. Bake it: out the whole thing in the oven at 400 for about 25-30 minutes.

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This all turned out pretty good, which my wife will tell you is unusual when I completely make up my own recipes impromptu. Nevertheless, the chicken was wonderful, and the rice was nice. It was cooked through just right, but it was a little on the too-sticky side. The flavors were good, though. This really hit the spot for the paella-ish flavors I was looking for. Chicken-y, smokey, and comforting in a belly-filling way.

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The cauliflower was also quite nice. It was a little crunchier than how you usually find cauliflower. But that is how I generally like it. It did pick up some of the pan flavors, but I think rather than nest them on top before baking, I think the next time, I will mix them into the rice a little more thoroughly. And probably, I need a little more cooking liquid.

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