Seafood and chicken paella

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Paella is an internationally-known rice dish from Spain. It originated in the fields of a region called Valencia in eastern Spain. The legend says that, at lunch time, workers in the fields would make the rice dish in a flat pan over a fire. They mixed in whatever they could find – such as snails and vegetables. For special occasions, rabbit and later chicken were added.

Today paella is made in every region of Spain, using just about any kind of ingredient that goes well with rice. There are as many versions of paella as there are cooks. It may contain chicken, pork, shellfish, fish, eel, squid, beans, peas, artichokes or peppers. Saffron, the spice that also turns the rice a wonderful golden color is an essential part of the dish.

Ingredients : 4 servings

1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ pound chicken breast, cubed
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 pinches saffron threads
¼ cup warm water
½ cup tomato puree
4 cups chicken broth
4 sprigs parsley

¼ cup diced yellow bell peppers or mini sweet peppers
¼ cup diced orange ell peppers or mini sweet peppers
¼ cup diced red bell peppers or mini sweet peppers
½ cup peas
1 ½ cups long grain parboiled rice
1 dozen little neck clams
½ pound medium shrimp with tail, peeled and deveined
½ pound squid, cut into ½-inch slices

1 lemon, quartered
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a 4-quart pot, over low-medium heat , sauté the onion, garlic and chicken in olive oil until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and turmeric powder.

Melt the saffron threads in the warm water and add to the pot. Add the tomato purée, chicken broth, and parsley sprigs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Lower the heat to low. Incorporate the yellow peppers, orange peppers, red peppers, peas and rice. Add the clams, shrimp and squid. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Discard the parsley. Transfer the contents of the pot into a baking dish, leaving out excess sauce. Bake for 5 to10 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Serve warm.