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Jamaican Jerk Paella

Recipe from Contributor, Analiese Trimber, founder of The Bacon Princess

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One of the most memorable dishes I’ve ever eaten is the Kale and Wild Mushroom Paella at Bobby Flay’s Gato in New York City. I literally have dreams about this stuff. The rice is perfectly crispy and the dish has this luscious, buttery flavor to it despite not having any butter in it at all. After about the tenth dream I had about this incredible paella, I decided it was time to make my own.

Obviously there’s no way I can top Bobby Flay, so I wanted to change the flavor profile of this dish a bit. The star proteins include shrimp, chicken, and Applegate’s Peach Jerk Chicken Sausages. These sausages are incredible. They come fully cooked, so they don’t take very long to heat up. Plus, they’re packed with flavor. I’m probably going to have to keep replenishing my stock on a weekly basis. I decided to take somewhat of a Jamaican spin on the traditional paella to match these awesome sausages.

I’m not going to lie, making paella is a total labor of love and a bit bigger of a time commitment than most of my other recipes, but I promise you it’s worth it.

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Level: Medium

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 75 minutes
Total Time: 85 minutes

Servings: 5

Ingredients:
For the jerk seasoning:
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 dash cinnamon
For the paella:
2-3 tablespoons jerk seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small yellow onion
1 chicken breast
2-3 Applegate Natural Peach Jerk Chicken Sausages
8-10 shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups water
3 teaspoons chicken bouillon
2 cups Lundberg’s Organic Basmati Brown Rice, or other comparable brown rice
salt and pepper, to taste

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Directions:

  1. Add all spices for jerk seasoning to a small bowl.
  2. Stir until fully combined. Set aside.
  3. Dice onion, thinly slice bell pepper, and slice cherry tomatoes in half.
  4. Slice Applegate sausages into half-inch thick slices.
  5. Dice chicken and place in a small bowl. Add jerk seasoning.
  6. Use your hands and mix to incorporate seasoning.
  7. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Cast iron is preferred, but not necessary.
  8. Add diced chicken and diced onion.
  9. Cook about two minutes or until chicken is browned and onion is soft.
  10. Add rice and stir until fully combined. When accomplished, all rice will be glossy from the olive oil.
  11. Add about 3 cups to 3 1/2 cups of water, and all chicken bouillon. Stir until combined.
  12. Place shrimp on top of mixture.
  13. Cook over medium-low heat for about one hour. About halfway through, add your chicken sausage, bell pepper, and sliced tomatoes.
  14. Check your paella at the 30-minute mark and the 45-minute mark. Add the extra half cup or 3/4 cup water if your rice is still a little crunchy.
  15. When you have the proper amount of water, don’t be afraid to let the rice on the bottom of your cast iron caramelize a bit.
  16. Serve when rice is soft and all water has been absorbed.

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