Treat yourself to a nice weeknight dinner with this Seafood and Vegetable Paella recipe.
We are big fans of Groupon. Most of our dinner date nights are a result of us buying a Groupon for a nice restaurant that we wouldn't normally spend the money on. One of the restaurants we like is Cervantes of Spain in Cranford, NJ. Whenever we go there, we always get the seafood paella. It is so ridiculously good. And it comes with half a lobster on top (which we always leave for the to-go box at home because neither one of us knows how to properly eat lobster in public).
Cervantes of Spain also has the most amazing butter that they serve with the dinner rolls - a garlic herb butter. It is so so good that I can seriously make a meal of just the dinner rolls with the herbed butter. That reminds me, I should try to make some herbed butter sometime. But that's a whole other post topic.
I've been craving the seafood paella lately, but we've been so busy with work and other life stuff that we really don't have time to go out for dinner and probably won't for a few weeks. So it was time to take matters into my own hands.
I made an easy seafood and vegetable paella at home, and it came out awesome. Flavorful, comforting, full of seafood and different vegetables. No, it doesn't have a lobster on top, but then again it is much more affordable for a weeknight dinner. It was a delicious meal that came together in less than 45 minutes, and we had leftovers for lunch. AND this totally satisfied my seafood paella craving. Am I saying that mine is better than the restaurant's? Probably not. But it is pretty darn good. And I will definitely be making it again, maybe with some chorizo next time.
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Easy Weeknight Seafood and Vegetable Paella
- 2 cups uncooked white rice
- 2 cups chopped leeks (1 small leek), chopped and rinsed
- 2 cups chicken or fish stock (I used sodium free chicken stock)
- 3 cups water (see note below)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon salt (or less to taste)
- zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley , stems removed (plus more for garnish)
- 1 red bell pepper , sliced into rings
- 1 lb asparagus , end removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup peas , fresh or frozen
- 1-1.5 lb seafood mix , frozen or thawed (see note below)**
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom pot, and add the diced leeks. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the rice, chicken/fish stock, and 3 cups of water.
- Add the hot pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and turmeric. Add 1/2 tablespoon salt and stir well.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is almost done. After 15 minutes of cooking there should be just a bit of liquid remaining, and it would get cooked down in the next three steps. If the liquid gets absorbed too early, add a bit more water, a half a cup at a time.
- Carefully taste the paella broth and see if you need more salt (don't burn your mouth!). If you need more salt, gradually add more (up to a tablespoon total) until it is to your liking.
- After the rice has been cooking for 15 minutes (when it is just about done), add the vegetables - bell peppers, asparagus, and peas. Stir them into the paella and cook for 3 minutes. At this point, look at how much liquid you have and turn up the heat if it looks like too much liquid.
- Stir in the seafood mix, making sure to cover all the seafood in the saucy paella completely. If your seafood is thawed, continue to cook for about 3 minutes, or until it is fully cooked. If your seafood is frozen, cook for about 5 minutes, or until everything is fully cooked. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh chopped parsley to serve.