Paella With Wild Rice, Seafood and Cornish Hen

"Recipe courtesy Chuck Hughes"
photo by Genius Kitchen photo by Genius Kitchen
photo by Genius Kitchen
Ready In:




  • Soak the wild rice in 4 cups cold water for at least 2 hours. It will absorb some of the water and puff up a little bit.
  • To roast the red peppers:

  • Place the red bell peppers directly onto the fire on your gas stove. Or place directly onto your electric burner. Char well for over 15 minutes on all sides. You are looking for a very black exterior. Pop the peppers into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to seal in the heat and sweat. In 10 minutes you can peel off the charred skin. If you want you can do this under running cold water, which makes it a little easier. Cut in wide slices and set aside.
  • Peel and finely dice the onion. Slice the sausage into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • To fabricate the Cornish game hen:

  • Remove the carcass from your hen beginning at top of bird along either side of breast bone. Using a sharp knife, work your way down each side of carcass trying to remove as much meat from the bone as possible, to make 2 halves. Leave in the leg and wing bones, but discard the carcass (or save for stock). Then cut the leg and wing pieces off from the breast pieces.
  • To clean the shrimp:

  • Start by holding the shrimp, backside up, and run your knife down the length of its spine. This will expose the vein. To remove the vein you can use your finger, or the tip of your knife to pull it out of the shrimp.
  • To clean the mussels:

  • Scrub the mussels removing any sand and seaweed bits. If mussels are open, test them by pressing the two shells together. If they start to close, then they are still alive and safe to use. If not, discard them.
  • To clean the squid:

  • Grab the head, while holding the end and PULL. Most of the guts will come out in one neat pile. You need to remove the transparent spine (or quill) by running a finger along the inside of the mantle holding it by the tip and pulling. Check the base in case there is a bit of spine left and that can be removed as well. Remove the wings by pulling off and then peel the rest of the skin off, which should come off in one piece. Slice the squid body open, score it on the diagonal (making a shallow incision but not cutting all the way through). Then cut this squid piece into flat triangles, or if you prefer simply cut the squid body into rings.
  • In a large skillet turn a large pan on high heat and drizzle in the oil. Add the hen pieces to the hot pan and sear and brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Take the pieces out of the pan and set aside. Add the chorizo or other sausage to the pan. Stir until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Leave there. In the same pan, continue to build the dish by adding the onions, and saute until golden. Add the turmeric, and smoked paprika, and then add the garlic. Add the wild rice, and stir to coat with all the flavors and allow the grains to toast slightly.
  • Return the seared hen pieces to the pan. Add your warm chicken stock to which you have added the saffron. Reserve about a cup of stock for later. Cover the pan with a lid or tin foil, and let cook, about 40 minutes.
  • Finish by adding the seafood (shrimp, mussels, squid), and the last cup of stock just before the last 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the peas and the reserved roasted red peppers. Cover for a minute and the residual heat will warm both.
  • Ladle up into two personal paella pans.

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Affable Canadian chef Chuck Hughes is a restaurateur and television personality known for his inventive take on comfort food, which he shares on his show, Chuck's Day Off.
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