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Leslie Horne Dishes Up Texas Quail, Chorizo and Mushroom Paella

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Leslie Horne makes paella.

Leslie Horne makes paella.

Leslie Horne of Aurelia’s Chorizo knows her way around a paella pan.

Last fall, she gave several demonstrations at GauchoGourmet on Isom Road, using products in the store to create a dish that was loaded with a cornucopia of flavors. She also cooked up several enormous pans, featuring her chorizo and a host of other succulent ingredients, at Paella Lovers United, an Austin cook-off that drew hundreds to what is essentially a backyard get-together complete with prizes for those interested in competing. (Horne was not part of the competition.)

Once you get the knack of the dish, you’ll discover that you can make paella any way you like. Here’s a recipe that features her chorizo as well as that Texas favorite, quail. What makes it different is that it calls for no seafood. But if you love shrimp, include them in the recipe. Just don’t add them too early or they’ll overcook.

That’s all part of the fun of learning how to make this Spanish favorite. You can make it your own.

Texas Quail, Chorizo and Mushroom Paella

6 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
6 Texas quail (we love Diamond H brand)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Smoked Spanish paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 links Aurelia’s Spanish Style Chorizo, sliced into 1/4-inch thick sliced (see note)
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 medium tomato, grated or finely diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
3 cups short grain rice
2 cups green peas
Roasted red pepper strips for garnish
Caper berries, for garnish

Leslie Horne's paella at GauchoGourmet.

Leslie Horne’s paella at GauchoGourmet.

Combine chicken broth and saffron in large pot and heat to almost boiling. (Do not let it boil, or it will evaporate.) Season quail with salt, freshly ground black pepper and smoked Spanish paprika. In a 15-inch paella pan, over 2 burners, heat olive oil. Brown quail, but do not cook through. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onion and bell pepper, cooking until onion is wilted and translucent. Add chorizo and mushrooms, cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato, garlic and parsley. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms begin to soften and garlic becomes aromatic. Add 3 cups rice; stir to coat with pan drippings. Return quail to pan. Carefully add the hot saffron chicken broth. Taste and adjust the salt, if needed. Bring the stock to a boil, cook for 15 minutes rotating pan over two burners. Scatter peas evenly over entire pan but do not stir. Garnish the top of paella with strips of roasted red peppers and caper berries. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until all broth has been absorbed. Turn off heat. Cover with foil or a clean towel and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Note: Mexican-style chorizo cannot be substituted in this recipe.

Makes 6 servings.

From Leslie Horne/Aurelia’s Chorizo

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