Paella can be a complex or simple dish. Like cassoulet, the dish evolved as a warm and satisfying way to use leftover meats and vegetables. I’ve enjoyed delicious paella made with lobster, scallops, and shellfish, and I’ve loved simple ones made with non-traditional ingredients such as chicken and ham. This recipe falls somewhere in the middle with a stock made from odds and ends from the fridge to which you add some Spanish chorizo and shrimp. This is fun to make, no component takes very long, and the flavor is deep, rich and satisfying.
The Shrimp and Chorizo Paella and the quick and easy Back Burner Stock come from Bon Appétit’s web pages and the stock is featured in the current edition of their magazine. I like the stock’s flexibility by taking in whatever you happen to have on hand. For instance, I had two slices of bacon and some scallion tops that probably would have been thrown out but they were perfect for this dish. The only difficult ingredient was bomba rice, a Spanish variety that reminds me of arborio, or sushi rice. I looked through several Mexican grocery stores to no avail and finally ended up ordering a pound from Amazon.com. Although purists would be aghast, I think arborio would work fine, as would any short grain white rice.
This is a very comforting and flavorful dish. It could be easily doubled and it is definitely company-worthy. Perhaps the nicest part is that the kitchen smells like saffron – one of the most magical of food aromas.