The Day My Car Broke & Paprika Chorizo Paella

Saturday morning I got in my car to head up to campus.  All was fine, and then, then the “check engine’ light turned on.  Panic set in: I’m a grad student, I’m in no way financially stable enough to pay for a huge car problem.

Poor Adele.  Speaking of which, meet Adele:

2001 Honda Accord LX - $6000 (Missoula)


(This isn’t my car, but it’s the same color and make.  And no, I did not name my car after the singer, though I did just name her yesterday during my panic that I could lose her).

As I panicked, I called my mother (because mother’s know everything), went to the dealer, sat at the dealer, and was handed a piece of paper telling me “its not the end of the world.  you car won’t be blowing up…but you need to fix X, Y, and Z.”  I say X, Y, and Z because I don’t know what any of the codes/descriptions mean.  I do know, however, its going to be very expensive, which may turn May/June into the “how to spend as little as possible” challenge months.  Stay tuned Winking smile

So, what do I do when I get stressed out with school, money, cars, life?  Why, I cook of course!  And tonight, I decided that what I really wanted was Mark Bittman’s Chicken & Chorizo Paella from How to Cook Everything.  So I went and picked up fresh made chorizo and chicken thighs from Whole Foods, headed home and started cooking.

Then I had a major fail: I forgot to add in the chicken AND garlic.  So what did I do?  I added a ton of paprika, and made my own: Paprika Chorizo Paella.  The delicious result of my current inability to follow directions.

I started by sautéing the chopped onion in olive oil, and heating the chicken broth + saffron on the stove.

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If you’ve never seen, or worked with saffron, here’s a closer look:

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You keep it in a sealed plastic bag, and its like red fibers.  And, you only need very little of it.  Just a ‘pinch.’

I then added the rice to the onions, and cooked for 2-3 minutes, before adding the broth.  Then added in the tomato paste, chorizo, paprika (LOADS of paprika) and salt & peppa.

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Then I pooped popped it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the rice was thoroughly cooked and the top/edges were starting to get crispy (my favorite part).

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Then, I topped with a little more paprika (its hard to have too much after having eaten in Hungary), and dove in.

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Paprika Chorizo Paella (6-8 servings)

  • 2 pounds uncased pork chorizo (I get mine from the butcher at WF – I just ask em to ‘make’ it for me)
  • 2 cups arborio rice (this is important…it makes the best paella in my opinion)
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 2-3 tbsp paprika (I’m not joking)
  • a pinch of saffron
  • salt & peppa to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Heat oven to 450.  Heat olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan, with high edges and a METAL handle (you are sticking it in the oven…so this is important).  Once hot, sauté the onion (you could add minced garlic if you like).  Meanwhile, heat the 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth with the saffron in a sauce pot.  After a few minutes, when the onion is starting to turn a ‘clear’ color, add the rice.  Let simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the rice looks ‘shiny.’

Then, add the chicken broth, chorizo, tomato paste, paprika, and salt & peppa.  Stir, and let sit for about 2-3 minutes, then pop it in the oven (uncovered) for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is starting to brown, and the top/edges get crispy – and the rice is cooked through.

Plate, top with paprika (if you so please) and DIG IN!

I paired mine with a spinach salad, manchego cheese, tomato and raspberry balsamic vinaigrette.  Mmmmm.  Mmmm.  Good Smile


I had this portion…time 2 Smile  Soooo good.

What do you cook/bake or do when you’re stressed out?  I tend to do a mixtuer of ridiculous cooking, baking and exercising.  Those are the only activities in which I can really lose myself and forget about the world around me.  I love to bake sweets.  But then I eat them all…so I try not to Winking smile


8 thoughts on “The Day My Car Broke & Paprika Chorizo Paella

  1. You poor thing – I hate car troubles! They are so expensive and annoying. I definitely bake when I’m stressed. It is distracting and relaxing at the same time.

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