Chicken Paella with Mussels

This post begins with two disclaimers: 1.) the term paella is being used loosely, and 2.) I couldn’t find my paella pan, so I used my trusty stainless steel standby (see previous disclaimer). I borrowed most of tonight’s recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Chicken & Chorizo Paella.

The Sun Bucket started at 653°F (345 C).

This recipe calls for 750 mL of boiling hot water. The kettle was filled, and placed on the Sun Bucket. Immediately, the kettle danced with heat. Within 5 minutes, a rolling boil was achieved, and the kettle was set aside. While I was waiting for the water to boil, I chopped an onion, one carrot, 2 cloves of garlic, one bunch of flat-leaf parsley, a red bell pepper, and two chicken breasts.

Next, my big sauce pan went on, and a tablespoon of olive oil was heated. The onion, carrot, garlic, parsley stems, and chicken went into the pan with a teaspoon of smoked paprika. This was stirred regularly for about five minutes while everything browned and softened.

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Next I added the red pepper, 1 T. of tomato paste, and 1 t. of chicken better-than-bouillon. A quick stir, and then 1 1/2 C. of white rice went into the pan. Once the rice absorbed the liquid in the pan, the hot water was added. The Sun Bucket was still so hot, that this all started boiling within seconds. (And then I maybe overdid it trying to get pictures of the bubbles.) So then, a lid went on for about 10 minutes, with the occasional stir. I slid the off-center on the cooking surface to allow the rice to simmer, not boil.

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After simmering, 1/2 C. of frozen peas were added to the mix. Another quick stir, and then a dozen frozen mussels were embedded in the rice. The lid went back on for another 5 minutes until the mussels were opened. I removed the pan from the heat, and let the paella hang out for a few minutes while I got a baguette toasted.

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Let’s recap — at this point, the Sun Bucket had boiled nearly a liter of water, sautéed a pile of vegetables and chicken, cooked 1 1/2 C. of rice, and heated frozen peas and mussels in 39 minutes. That’s a lot of energy!

I toasted up a baguette to go with our paella and salads tonight. The loaf was halved, and olive oil drizzled. A sheet of aluminum was placed over the cooking surface, and the baguette was placed cut-side down. It took exactly ten minutes to get the baguette warm and crunchy.

While the baguette was on the Sun Bucket, the paella was uncovered. The paella was sprinkled with the parsley’s leaves, roughly chopped, and served with lemon wedges, and a piece of baguette.

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The Sun Bucket was in use for 49 minutes tonight. The paella had a mass of approximately 3 kg (though of course, only a third of the mussels’ mass is edible, so in actuality, we’re closer to 2.6 kg of sustenance). The paella had an approximate caloric value of 1400 calories.

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