It has been a criminally long time since I introduced a new CRC (chicken and rice casserole) to the site.
These one pan dump-and-stir recipes have become a bit of a signature and I’m always asking for requests. Recently, someone who had just made this shawarma version suggested I do a chicken paella recipe for the next CRC. And since it is such an easy dish to translate into casserole form, I of course had to immediately oblige.
Spanish paella is pretty flexible in terms of proteins, often using a mix of chicken, sausage, and seafood. I have versions that touch upon each of these – just click here for sausage paella and here for paella with clams. I even have a vegetarian paella with butternut squash! The authenticity really comes down to technique, which I have to warn you, the CRC method does not abide by.
Usually, chicken paella is cooked low and slow over an open flame on the stovetop, which allows the rice to get extra crispy around the edges of the pan. There’s an entire Spanish word dedicated to these crispy bits: socarrat. Unfortunately, when you combine all your ingredients in a pan off the heat and then go directly to the oven, as is the fuss-free way of the CRC, you do lose some of that socarrat. But all the flavors still make for a lovely casserole!
One way around this is to heat the pan in the oven before you add your rice mixture – don’t skip this step! If you want a more traditional stove-top method, you can check out this recipe from Jamie Oliver, though his chicken paella includes chorizo sausage.
For the vegetables, I’ve got leeks, carrots, bell pepper and frozen peas. These are flexible, and I’ve given you instructions on how to adapt to be low FODMAP. Frozen artichoke hearts are another fun addition to a paella. I usually just arrange them on top prior to adding the chicken so they get crispy.
Lastly, saffron is usually the signature spice that gives paella its slightly yellow hue. It tends to be quite expensive, so I use a little hack by including turmeric instead. It definitely misses some of that authentic Spanish flavor, so if you have saffron on hand, you can substitute it. Just steep a few threads in ½ cup of boiling water. Swap this infusion for 1/2 cup of the stock the recipe calls for.
Read on for this chicken paella casserole recipe with peas!
With health and hedonism,
Chicken Paella Rice Casserole with Peas (Low FODMAP Optional)
- 1 medium leek trimmed, rinsed and thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and finely diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 ¼ cup Arborio rice or Bomba Paella rice
- 1 cup diced plum tomatoes fresh or canned
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice plus wedges, for serving
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Sea salt
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley divided
- 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs about 6
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a large (15 inch) heavy bottomed oven-safe skillet or 9 x 13 casserole dish in the oven while you prepare the ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the leek, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, rice, tomatoes, peas, chicken stock, white wine, lemon juice, paprika, turmeric, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil and half the parsley. Fold the ingredients together until well-mixed. Transfer to the hot skillet or dish and arrange in an even layer. Nestle the chicken thighs in the rice mixture so they are partially submerged. Season the chicken generously with salt and drizzle with olive oil.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the casserole for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is browned, the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.