Yom tov, school, short days, long days, fast days, yom tov, sports tryouts, school, yom tov, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, e-vites…who is keeping track of it all? All I know is that if I don’t write it all down, it will never happen. Now just who is going to help me remember to write it all down? It’s like a whirlwind swirling around my head. And keeping track of the shopping, preparing, cooking, freezing, defrosting, reheating, is enough to make me want to cook some more. Not.
So now that you’ve spent the entire month cooking and entertaining (or maybe some of you early birds have a freezer full of prepared meals ready to whip out at a moment’s notice), you come to a stark realization. For those in-between days, those school days when the kids don’t want to see any more brisket or turkey roast, you slowly understand that you actually have to cook a fresh meal, even though you have a refrigerator full of leftovers. Those are the days I’m talking about. Seriously. With all that food, all that delicious food, they want something else. Something they haven’t seen before. It’s not so easy to come up with something quick and original, not that you have to, but I always try to aim high. Although I have to confess, after Rosh Hashanah, all my kids wanted was plain pasta. Lucky me. Of course later that night when they were hungry again, I pushed the brisket and turkey…
So something easy is always a one-dish meal—a starch, protein and veggie all in one pan. So again, lucky me, I was in Barcelona this summer, and even luckier me, the kosher restaurant we went to had authentic local food (I think), not just shwarma and falafel! I ordered myself a pan of paella. Actually three or four of us ordered paella, and it was brought in this gigantic paella pan (a fancy name for a shallow pan with two handles), which we were told we would share. We felt really cool eating paella out of a paella pan in Barcelona. So when we got home I promptly bought myself a pan just like that one. It came with a recipe right inside, lucky me, and that’s what my kids will have for dinner on these in-between yom tov days without feeling like they are eating the same thing over and over. (Unfortunately for them, the yom tov leftovers have been frozen and will make an appearance again—tada!)
So although many a one-pot dish seems to comprise chicken and rice, the appearance and flavor of this one is very different than, say, the one I wrote about last month. I made the whole dish from start to finish, including prep and cooking, in about 40 minutes. And it makes a huge amount. And it was delicious. Give it a shot, and feel free to throw in whatever you like. The recipe is very basic, and simple. Lucky me!
4 C. chicken stock (I used boxed, low sodium)
1 pinch saffron
½ C. olive oil
½ red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ C. Arborio rice
3 tsp. paprika
3 tsp. salt
4-6 thick chicken cutlets, cut into 1–2 inch chunks
2 (14.5 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 C. frozen peas
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the stock and saffron in a small saucepan. In a large skillet (or paella pan), heat oil. Add onions and garlic and stir for a minute or two. Add rice, paprika and salt. Stir to coat all the rice with oil. Add chicken and stir until well combined with rice, and the chicken begins to cook. Add tomatoes and stir all ingredients together. Add two cups of the warm stock and allow mixture to simmer undisturbed for five minutes. Place the strips of pepper around the edge of the pan. Add another cup of stock and leave for five minutes. Add final cup of stock, and place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the green peas on top. Allow to sit for five minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Rachel is a Real Estate attorney, currently feeling very lucky. You can find The Kosher Dinner Lady on Facebook and Instagram, and contact her at [email protected]
By Rachel Berger