For the Love of Paella…and Cauliflower

The only thing better than admiring art is eating it. And this is the case with my recipe for Mexican Paella with Cauliflower Rice. The deep, rich colors of this dish make for a dramatic centerpiece at the dinner table, a stunning visual statement…get ready for your family to gape at your culinary skills. 🙂  I am in love with this low-carb version–I used cauliflower rice as a grain substitute, and was so pleased with the succulent depth this faux carb added to the combination of textures and flavors.

A couple of notes:

  • If you don’t have a paella pan, be sure to use a very large, flat-bottomed pan to ensure as much heat along the bottom surface as possible.
  • For cauliflower rice, either purchase as such, or to make your own, remove outer leaves from cauliflower, cut into flowerettes (removing most of the thick core) and place into a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds or so, until cauliflower resembles fine rice. You may also grate the raw cauliflower on a coarse grater.
  • When stir-frying the cauliflower rice as the recipe dictates, do not remove any of the grease in the pot left from the sausage and chicken…there shouldn’t be much grease anyway, but what is left will help to harden the cauliflower into a nice toasty crust, very similar to the best part of traditional paella with rice, where the rice is seared and sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • Use spicy Mexican chorizo!! This provides a good amount of the flavor and seasoning to the dish.
  • Splitting the cauliflower rice into separate additions (2 cups and then 1 cup toward the end) adds different textures and depth to the dish.

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

1 lb chorizo sausage, in bulk (if purchased as individual sausages, remove casings and break apart)

1 chicken breast, cut into ½” cubes

3 cups cauliflower rice

1 medium onion, diced

1 large yellow or orange pepper, seeded and chopped

Pinch of salt

Pepper to taste

3 garlic cloves, finely minced (or grated using a microplane)

1 14.5 oz can Hunts diced tomatoes

½ tsp dried basil

1-½ tsp fresh thyme leaves

½ tsp crushed saffron threads

2 bay leaves

½ c water

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 cubes chicken bouillon

1 cup frozen peas

3 frozen tilapia filets

Directions

  • In a paella pan, or a large, flat-bottomed pot, crumble the chorizo sausage and cook over medium-high heat for five minutes, stirring constantly to break up chunks. Add the diced chicken and sauté with the sausage until cubes are no longer pink in the middle. Both sausage and chicken should be evenly and lightly seared. Remove the sausage and chicken from the pan; set aside.
  • In the same pot, reduce the heat to medium and add 2 c of cauliflower rice. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes to brown the cauliflower slightly (this brings out a nutty flavor). Add the diced onion and yellow or orange pepper. Season with a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste. Add the minced garlic, or grate cloves over the pot using a microplane. Cook 2 minutes longer.
  • Pour canned tomatoes into pot. Add basil, fresh thyme, saffron, and bay leaves. Mix well. Add sausage and chicken mixture back to pan. Add water, tomato paste and bouillon. Stir to combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to med-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove lid and fold in peas and remaining 1 c of cauliflower rice. Place frozen tilapia filets on top of the paella mixture, return cover and steam for another 10 minutes. Remove lid and check for doneness. Gently break apart filets with wooden spoon, and stir to incorporate chunks of fish into paella.
  • Serve from the pot at the table!

 

You can also find my recipe on the Allrecipes site…  Mexican Paella with Cauliflower Rice

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