Bold flavors abound with this Chicken and Chorizo Paella Verde. Tender chicken thighs, Spanish chorizo, arborio rice, peppers and onion bathe in a roasted tomatillo verde sauce. A tasty twist on traditional paella and perfect for game day crowds!
Roasted Tomatillo Verde
I’m a total fan of paella but it doesn’t always have to be about seafood and saffron. This paella has a spicy flare that’s still family friendly. Tomatillos take the lead role in this verde sauce with poblano and jalapeño peppers, garlic, cilantro, and lime making up the rest of the cast. You can crank up the heat with an additional jalapeño or serrano pepper if you like. The recipe for the Roasted Tomatillo Verde is included below, but check out its post for more detail about the preparation and noteworthy tidbits on tomatillos.
Chicken and Chorizo Paella Verde
For this recipe if you have a metal paella pan suitable for the stove and oven, go for it, but it’s not required. I used a large, high-rimmed sauté pan to brown the meats, sweat out the vegetables, and start the rice. All then went into an earthenware casserole I bought this summer in my favorite pottery shop on Cape Cod. A 13×9 baking dish will do the trick as well.
The crispy chorizo and browned chicken hang out in the casserole or baking dish with a bit of verde while the rice starts to plump in the sauté pan. When the rice is about halfway cooked, the entire mixture is combined with the meats in the casserole, covered with foil, and popped in the oven.
Once the rice is tender, things get even greener with peas, cilantro, and lime zest.
Now it’s time to grab a cold one or uncork your favorite, and dig in. Your gang will be singing your praises. For more crowd-pleasing inspiration, check out our Sweet Corn & Chicken Chowder, Healthy Turkey Chili, and Classic Meatballs & Tomato Sauce. Cheers!!
- 1 ½ lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed (10-12)
- ½ large Vidalia or Spanish onion, quartered
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional
- 4-6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black ground pepper
- Juice and zest from 1 large lime
- ½ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, packed
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb Spanish chorizo, cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 cups arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- Lime wedges for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatillos, onion, peppers, and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast 20-25 minutes. Let vegetables cool enough to peel garlic and remove seeds and charred skin from the peppers. Transfer all to a blender or food processor, including accumulated juices and oil. Blend until smooth (be sure to leave an opening for steam to escape when blending hot ingredients). Next, blend in lime juice, zest, cilantro, and honey. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large, high-rimmed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until crisp and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove the chorizo to a paper towel lined dish. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the cumin, salt and pepper. Add the seasoned chicken thighs to the same pan. Brown on each side 3-4 minutes. You may have to cook the chicken in batches; don’t overcrowd the pan. Transfer chicken to an earthenware casserole or 13x9 baking dish. Mix drained chorizo and ¼ cup verde sauce in baking dish with the chicken. Set aside.
Add the onion and bell pepper to same sauté pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Mix in rice, and stir 1 minute more. Pour in wine to deglaze bottom of pan. Stir until wine is absorbed. Add 2 cups broth and 1 cup verde sauce, and stir to combine. Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring frequently, 8-10 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups broth and 1 more cup of verde sauce. Once bubbling, cover with heavy duty foil and transfer to preheated oven. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil, stir in another ½-1 cup verde sauce. Cover again with foil and bake 10-15 minutes longer. Remove from oven, and stir in peas, cilantro, lime zest, and juice. Drizzle the top with remaining verde sauce, or pass around in a separate bowl, and serve.
*Generously adapted from Guy Fieri, Guy’s Big Bite