It’s getting towards the end of the grocery week and the produce bin is looking a bit scarce. I’m trying not to overbuy – something that is really easy to do when going to a produce store – and I’m trying not to go to the grocery store more than once a week. I have a real love/hate relationship with grocery stores… I love food and looking at new things and creating recipes in my mind while looking at things walking down the aisles.. I hate dealing with clueless customers and indifferent staff. And crowds and lines. And over-indulged children. And… And… And…

I’m getting even more crotchety in my dotage and finding balance sometimes eludes me.

Yet, I also can’t see doing Instacart, Peapod, or any of those other online grocery services. I’m too cheap. I’d much rather grouse about something than pay someone else to do it for me. Low as they may be, I do have my standards.

And while the vegetable larder is low, the freezer is full. The pendulum has swung from meats to produce but the buying habits haven’t quite caught up there, either. I still tend to buy family packs of things and then repackage and freeze – I love my FoodSaver – so there’s lots of variety in the protein department. Did I just write about balance eluding me?!? Welcome to my world.

With two links of Mexican Chorizo and 2 chicken thighs thawing – Mexican Chorizo is fresh, Spanish is cured and dried – my idea of a soup morphed into a paella of sorts. I may not do Instacart, but I do have things like Murcian Calasparra Rice delivered to the door.  I also have three kinds of Italian rice, Indian rice, Thai rice, Japanese rice, Chinese rice, and generic long grain white rice from California. And no onions – although I do have shallots.

Faux Paella

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 2 links Mexican chorizo, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup Calasparra rice
  • pinch saffron
  • pinch thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Brown chicken thighs, set aside.

In same pan, brown chorizo. Add shallots, garlic, and bell pepper.

Add rice and stir until it begins to become translucent. Add wine and reduce by half.

Add spices and chicken broth and bring to boil. Add chicken.

Place in oven – uncovered – and cook about 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Check liquid and add more broth, if necessary.

I use a 35 year old Le Creuset braising pan to make my paella – not a traditional paellera – and I finish it in the oven so I don’t get the traditional crispy crusty socarrat on the bottom.


Of course, I’m also just making dinner, not trying to replicate the traditional dish of Valencia. If I were, I’d buy the pan and research the original recipe.

While I have gone to extremes like that in the past, today, I’d rather go to Spain and have someone cook it for me. I’ll make do with my bastardized version at home.