I love to take traditional recipes and give them new twists. This one is a riff on the classic Spanish dish of saffron-hued rice studded with sausage and seafood. Once I came up with the idea, many failed attempts ensued until one day I found the right combination of techniques and ingredients. I combined sautéed onions, carrot, and celery with a little rice, seasoned the mixture with crushed saffron, and simmered it in stock and white wine. When puréed and enriched with some cream, the texture became smooth and the color deep golden. Familiar paella ingredients—shrimp, chicken, chorizo, and peas—were added as finishing touches.
Read Related: Cold Almond Garlic Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Make Ahead: Partially
Bread Basket Choice: Crusty peasant loaf
Soup-er Side: Best-Ever Greens Salad in Classic Vinaigrette, made with mixed greens
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
¼ cup long-grain white rice
¼ TSP saffron threads, crushed
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 TSP kosher salt, plus more if needed
½ cup heavy or whipping cream
1 pound large uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 ounces Spanish chorizo sausage, cut into thin rounds or diced
1 cup fresh peas or frozen peas, thawed
½ cup diced cooked chicken, preferably white meat (optional)
2 TSP chopped fresh chives
- Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan set over medium heat. When hot, add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté until softened, for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add rice, saffron, wine, and stock and bring to a simmer. Season with 1 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat. Cover and cook at a simmer until vegetables and rice are soft, for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.) Stir in the cream. (Soup can be prepared to this point 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate.)
- Set soup over low heat and, when mixture comes to a simmer, add shrimp, chorizo, peas, and, if desired, chicken. Cook until shrimp have turned pink and curled, for about 3 minutes. Do not overcook or shrimp will become tough. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed.
- To serve, ladle soup into 4 bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of chives.
At the Market Notes
For a convenient time-saver, purchase a roast chicken from the deli section of the supermarket. Chorizo is a highly seasoned pork sausage available in both Spanish and Mexican varieties. For this recipe use the firmer, smoked Spanish type, which is made with pork that is already cooked. (Mexican chorizo is prepared with fresh pork enclosed in a casing.) Chorizo is available at Spanish markets, specialty food stores, and some supermarkets, such as Whole Foods.