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Paella Salad

Paella Salad

We've based this salad very loosely on paella, the Spanish rice dish--and you can actually make it with rice if you like. Our choice, though, is orzo, the tiny rice-shaped pasta. The cooking instructions are the same whichever you choose.

Food & Wine JANUARY 1998

  • Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 ounces dried chorizo or other firm spicy sausage such as pepperoni, quartered lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.

2. Increase the heat to moderately high. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in the red-pepper flakes, paprika, chicken, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is almost done, about 3 minutes. Cover the pan and remove from the heat. Steam the chicken for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large glass or stainless-steel bowl to cool.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orzo until done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.

4. Add the drained orzo to the chicken mixture. Toss with the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt, the tomato, and the parsley.

Wine Recommendation: Paella's Iberian roots lead us to Spain for a red Ribera del Duero. The name, literally translated as the "slopes along the Duero River," describes an area that is now the source of some of Spain's greatest red wines. Ribera del Duero's wild-cherry, herb, and spice flavors will be superb with this salad.

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