Recipe: “The Simplest Paella” by Mark Bittman made even simpler

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The How to Cook Everything book and iPad/iPhone app by Mark Bittman is amazing!  Hands down one of the best sources for simple straight forward recipes.  “The Simplest Paella” was added by Bittman recently as one of his featured recipes.  I was attracted to how few ingredients were needed.  It called for yellow rice and saffron, but I had a hard to time finding saffron at my local grocery store, but found a pack of yellow rice with saffron already mixed in — making this already simple recipe even simpler!  I cut the recipe in half to make enough for 2 servings.

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Here’s what you’ll need:  1 cup yellow rice with saffron, 1 3/4 cup chicken broth, 1/2 pound whole shrimp, a handful of fresh parsley, and 1 small onion.

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Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Chop the onions, using a Dutch oven or other oven proof pan/pot, fry them in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Meanwhile microwave the chicken broth for 2 minutes to heat it up.  Now shake and punch the bag of rice to distribute the clumps of saffron and seasonings throughout the rice.  Measure out 1 cup.

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Add the rice to the onions and fry for 2 minutes.  Then pour in the warm chicken broth and shrimp.

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Bring to a boil.  Cover with lid.  Put in a 450 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

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Taste the rice for doneness.  If it is too dry, add more chicken broth and cook for 5 minutes longer.  If it is too wet, leave it in the oven a few minutes longer uncovered.  Otherwise, remove from oven and mix in chopped parsley and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Edit:  I made this again tonight, and cooked it covered on the stove top for 20 minutes on medium to low heat stirring occasionally, and it turned out great.  Also I didn’t add any additional salt this time around because the chicken broth and rice seasonings already contained a lot, and felt that it tasted better this way.