We streamlined this usually complicated Paella dish by using a deli-roasted chicken, minced garlic from a jar, frozen vegetables, and packaged saffron rice. You can buy bags of mussels at your local seafood counter. Rinse them, and then pull off any remaining pieces of the stringlike beard. Discard any mussels that don't close when you tap on them. If you can't find mussels, add an extra 1/2 lb. of shrimp.
1 pound unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
1 (32-oz.) container chicken broth
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, sliced
1 (10-oz.) package frozen diced onion, red and green bell pepper, and celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (10-oz.) package saffron rice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup frozen small green peas
18 fresh mussels (about 3/4 lb.)
2 lemons, cut into wedges
How to Make It
Peel shrimp, reserving shells, and set shrimp aside.
Bring shrimp shells and chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard shells.
Sauté sausage and frozen vegetables in a paella pan or large heavy skillet over medium heat until vegetables are tender; add garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice; cook, stirring to coat, 1 minute. Stir in shrimp broth and pepper; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
Remove pan from heat; stir in shrimp and chicken. Sprinkle peas evenly over mixture; arrange mussels around outside of pan, hinge ends down.
Cook, covered, over medium-low heat 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and mussel shells are open. (Discard any unopened mussels.) Serve paella with lemon wedges.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used McKenzie's Seasoning Blend for frozen diced onion, red and green bell pepper, and celery.