Paella al Horno con Queso (Baked Paella with Cheese)

From Ellen Wartella, California

A departure from the Spanish version of paella, which features fish and shellfish, this Portugese standard uses chicken.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 red bell peppers, roasted or grilled & skinned**
2 ounces pancetta
pinch saffron
3/4 cups Arborio or Paella rice
salt & pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup manchego cheese*, shredded
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup havarti cheese, shredded
1/2cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup mayonnaise
olive oil
1 cups crema*

*Available at Mexican markets and Whole Foods
**Either roast, then chop, the peppers or hold each over a high gas flame until skin is charred, then peel off the skins and chop. May use peppers in jars, available at most grocery stores.

2. Heat a paella pan on high and coat with olive oil, add the rice and sauté until translucent and slightly browned.  Add the onions and celery and sauté.  Add chicken stock, saffron, salt & pepper to taste.  Cover and cook about 20 minutes until rice is done.  Dice the chicken and then add, with the mayonnaise, crema, and bell pepper and stir together
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Top paella with the cheeses and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, then cover and cook another 15 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove, top with cilantro and serve.

Serves 2, very generously.


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