Alex Province is famous for his foolproof Spanish paella. Upon his recent move to Phoenix, Arizona, Faith issued a challenge: Could Alex come up with a southwestern-inspired paella? Of course! Alex says the key is incorporating all those southwest spices he’s learning to love: cumin, chili powder, ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika (pimentón). In this case, Alex marinated chicken thighs in the spice mix before grilling it over mesquite and charcoal briquettes until the chicken was about 2/3 of the way cooked. (He was more interested in getting the chicken nice and brown in that early grilling step).
• ON-DEMAND: Listen to Alex describe this recipe, step by step on The Faith Middleton Food Schmooze®. •
This is a recipe for ambitious home cooks: there are multiple steps, you’ll dirty a sauté pan, a sauce pan, and a paella pan—if you have one. You’ll chop, sauté, and grill. You’ll have a grand ol’ time and the payoff is huge.
Pour a drink, roll up your sleeves, and dive in.
- 6 chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika (hot)
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 gram saffron
- salt to taste
- 1 Spanish onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 ripe tomato
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 ounces Spanish cured chorizo (hot)
- 2 cups Valencian or Bomba rice
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 1/3 cup frozen lima beans
- 1/3 cup grean beans
- lemon wedges for serving
- In a large mixing bowl, add chicken, a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle in the spices (paprika, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, ancho chili powder, cayenne). Toss to coat evenly and allow to marinate while doing the next steps.
- In a sauce pan, slowly warm the chicken stock and add the saffron. Taste and season with salt to your preference. Lower the heat and cover.
- Uniformly chop the onion, peppers, and tomato and begin sautéing in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil, over medium heat. When cooked until soft and transparent (about 5-10 minutes) add the garlic that has been thinly sliced. Cook another minute or so, then remove mixture from the pan and into a bowl; set aside.
- In the same frying pan as above, add another drizzle of olive oil and gently fry the chorizo that has been sliced at an angle, about 1/2 inch thick, until just sizzling and beginning to crisp. Remove the chorizo and set aside. Deglaze the pan with a small amount of the stock and then pour the pan liquid back into the sauce pan.
- Now, over a medium hot grill, cook the chicken for about 10-15 minutes until mostly cooked through. Use a combination of direct and indirect heat to get the perfect char without burning. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- If using a charcoal grill, evenly spread the briquettes. If using gas, set grill to medium hot. Place a 15 inch paella pan in the center of the grill and drizzle with olive oil. Once hot, add the sautéed vegetables, the chorizo, and the rice; mix together until the rice begins to turn transparent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and gently stir until all the ingredients are well combined, being careful that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom. Add the chicken, pressing the pieces deep into the rice mixture, and positioning evenly across the top. At this point, do not stir again.
- Bring the paella up to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat of the grill by reducing airflow or lowering the gas. Cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes undisturbed. Check to see the rice is not cooking too fast, and lower heat as necessary. (As the stock evaporates away, continue to lower the heat to prevent the bottom from scorching).
- After 20 minutes add the frozen peas and beans to the top of the paella and continue to cook another 5 minutes or until the rice is just cooked and the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove the paella from the heat and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Garnish with lemon wedges and serve directly from the pan family style.
Diana anton says
What restaurant is Alex associated with in Phoenix? Going to phoenix next month..
Robyn Doyon-Aitken says
Alex isn’t associated with any restaurants, he’s just a regular eater like everybody else. We’ll ask for his favorites and report back. Thanks for listening!
Robyn Doyon-Aitken says
Hi Diana. Alex is just back from a trip and he’s listed some of his favorite Phoenix restaurants for you to pick from. Here’s the list:
Tee Pee Taproom (Phoenix) very old school institution…try both red and green Chile sauces (called Christmas style)
Dick’s Hideaway for New Mexican Sunday brunch
Barrio Gran Reserva for elevated Mexican
Eloté (Sedona) excellent quality Mexican
Dos Molinos…hot but delicious
Durant’s is old school and very charming; Matt loves it.
Monarch Cafe is probably our favorite special occasion…worth going
Elements at the Sanctuary hotel
F&B was just awarded a James Beard award. Local wines are paired with their cuisine and surprisingly excellent…try to go.
AZ88 makes incredible martinis and cocktails…be careful
Bourbon and Bone is popular
Undertow is a craft tiki bar
North (Kierland) a nice restaurant and cool area to walk around with other good restaurants and shopping