Paella…Without the Rice (But with Chickpeas to Boot)


We’ve been having a few rice issues in our house recently – namely our little one, Zelda, seems to be super allergic to it. Which poses a few problems when it comes to cooking, oh, well, nearly 60 percent of the dishes that fly out of our kitchen.

Last week I was dreaming of throwing together a fun paella – you see the problem already. Some other time I’ll post that paella recipe (it has grown out of a paella Hugh and I cooked on an open fire at a funky little Sag Harbor summer house year ago). But I digress.

Anyway, while I was jonesing for paella (without rice) I remembered this great dish that my wife Jowa and I used to order at Chino Latino restaurant in New York called Nuevo Rampa.

It was chorizo with chickpeas and they served it with rice on the side.

So I’ve tried to recreate this chorizo y garbanzos dish and added some shrimp in for good measure. It has all the essential ingredients of a paella and is cooked much the same but you can skip the rice as the chickpeas serve a similar purpose.

Here’s how you do it:

You’ll need:

Two medium hot Spanish chorizo (this was always hard to find in the US but La Tienda stocks it), diced
One pound of medium shrimp
One can of chickpeas
half a can of plum tomatoes diced
Loads of garlic
One large Spanish onion
1/2 teaspoon of Pimenton
One cup of boiling water

In a large skillet, sautee the diiced chorizo in a tablespoon of olive oil for five minutes. Reserve the chorizo and then sautee the garlic and onion in the chorizo-infused oil. Add the tomato and pimenton when the onion is soft and then add the chickpeas and water to this “Sofrito”.

Return the chorizo to mixture and cook for five minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink.

By now, the sauce should have reduced so that it is hugging the shrimp and chorizo.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice (on the side and away from your allergic daughter) plus the green veg they will embrace!

- Matthew


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2 Responses to Paella…Without the Rice (But with Chickpeas to Boot)

  1. Courtney says:

    I had wondered if she had allergies when you mentioned that she didn’t like milk. Many kids allergic to milk appear to not like it. The paella sounds great, thanks.

  2. Carny Asada says:

    There are a bunch of things you can use as rice substitutes, including orzo pasta (probably the easiest), quinoa and millet (surprisingly delicious and nutty flavor). I have never heard of anyone being allergic to rice before, except people with an extreme form of celiac disease who can’t tolerate gluten in any form! You guys really hit the jackpot there.

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