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Make-Ahead Paella Casserole

Make-Ahead Paella Casserole


  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened, divided

  • 1/2 cup broken thin spaghetti or orzo pasta

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice

  • A generous pinch of saffron threads

  • 3-3 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided

  • All-purpose flour or instant flour, such as Wondra, for dredging

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided

  • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, chopped

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1/2 cup plus a splash of dry sherry

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, chopped

  • 1 thick center-cut fillet sustainable cod or black cod (1 pound)

  • Seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 lemon

  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Cook's Note: To roast bell peppers, arrange them on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until the skins are blackened. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover and let cool. Peel and seed the peppers. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Butter a casserole dish with 2 tablespoons butter. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the pasta and toast until golden. Stir in the rice and saffron. Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until al dente, about 17 minutes. Add an extra 1/2 cup water if the liquid evaporates before the rice is tender. Meanwhile, season some flour with the paprika in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour and shake off the excess. Heat 3 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and crisp on both sides, 12-15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to rest. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO to the skillet, then add the chorizo and cook until the fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with a splash of sherry, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Stir in the peas, thyme and roasted peppers and immediately remove from the heat. Slice the chicken and combine with the rice mixture and chorizo-pepper mixture. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Bake until heated through and the bottom is crisp, 30-40 minutes. Add a splash of stock, about 1/2 cup, if the top of the casserole dries out too much. Meanwhile, cover the fish with about 1/2 cup kosher salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Season some flour with seafood seasoning in a small dish. Lightly dredge the fish in the flour and shake off the excess. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until firm and opaque, 5-6 minutes, turning once. Transfer the fish to a plate. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until pink, 4-5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 cup sherry, then swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter until melted. Add the parsley. Flake the fish into pieces. Top the casserole with the fish, shrimp and sherry sauce. Divide among plates. Cook's Notes: Always buy seafood within 24 hours of serving. Quick-salting cod with salt is a technique of NYC chef George Mendez. It gives the fish a firmer texture and more pronounced flavor. The casserole can be covered and refrigerated before baking for a make-ahead meal.