I’m sure that a traditional Spanish cook would find it odd to make a paella based on quinoa, but the concept works well. More important, it tastes good.
- 1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika or other paprika
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups quinoa
- ½ cup finely chopped dry-cured chorizo
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ cup thin strips roasted red bell pepper, preferably fire-roasted
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a heavy 3-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. Brown the chicken pieces, using tongs to turn, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Turn off the heat and let the pan cool for a minute. Stir the paprika, garlic, and red pepper flakes into the hot oil in the pot.
Stir the broth into the pot, taking care to scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom. Blend in the tomato paste, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and chorizo. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 12 minutes.
Add salt to taste. Stir in the chicken. Cover and cook over low heat until the quinoa is done—it should have no opaque white dot in the center—and the chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. If the mixture seems dry and the chicken or quinoa is not thoroughly cooked, stir in a little more broth or some water, cover, and cook a few minutes longer.
Stir in the peas and roasted red pepper. Cover and let sit for 1 minute. Stir in the parsley just before serving.