I developed this recipe for the Ninja Chef challenge this week. The first thing I thought of when the "secret ingredients" of bacon, scallops and coffee were announced was bacon wrapped scallops. But I knew that I wanted something more "challenging" for my dish. I found a basic recipe for paella and Pam's Paella was born. Buon Appetito!!
Place the saffron and stock (and any shells from shrimp or other seafood) in a small saucepan on low until the liquids are hot. (You can also do this in the microwave)
Chop pancetta into 3/4 inch pieces. Chop chicken breast into 1 inch pieces. In a large (12 to 15-inch) skillet or paella pan, saute chopped pancetta until soft, add the coffee and let evaporate completely while pancetta finishes browning. Remove pancetta to a plate and set aside.
Add 2 Tbsp oil to the pan if needed. Quickly pat dry and season the scallops with a little salt and pepper. Sear the scallops in batches until brown and crusty on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the scallops to the plate.
Add the chicken and brown, turning it on all sides, about 2-5 minutes until no longer pink. Set aside on the plate.
Turn the heat down to medium and sauté the onions in the remaining fat until translucent, scraping up any leftover brown bits from the pan. If the pan is dry, you may need to add another tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic, shallots and sliced peppers. Cook for another few minutes.
Add the rice and stir to coat in the onion mixture, allowing it to get covered in the oil and begin to toast. After 3-5 minutes, add the sherry, and cook until the liquids have evaporated by nearly half. Use your spatula to help deglaze the pan and lift up any caramelized bits.
Stir in the tomatoes (and their juices), paprika, salt and pepper. Return the pancetta to the pan. Strain saffron-stock and pour in as much as needed to submerge the rice mixture. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low or low, cover with lid very slightly ajar and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is beginning to become crusty around the edges, about 25-45 minutes.(Check occasionally after 15 minutes for this small an amount and add a little more broth if needed to cook rice to tender.)
Arrange the scallops, chicken and shrimp around the surface of the paella, and add any juices back in the pan. Cover until seafood and chicken is reheated, any juices are absorbed and the rice is tender.
Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges. Serve hot, straight from the skillet.
NOTE: I substituted a large leek, sliced white part only, for the onion and shallot in this batch of paella. I also had a small lobster that I cleaned, chopped and added tail and claw meat. For a little extra kick, I used about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground Aleppo pepper along with the smoked paprika.