Smoky Budget Bootstrap Paella
I know many consider the spring and summer optimal times for grilling, but growing up in Texas, I’ve come to appreciate grilling year round.
Even though I have a low tolerance for cold weather 😂, one of my favorite activities during colder months happen outside – grilling! Maybe it’s the smell of wood chips burning or the warming sensation of standing next to a hot grill when it’s cold; but in a place like Dallas where the weather swings between 40F and 75F in a given day, grilling during our “winter” strangely makes it feel a lot more like the holidays.
Today, I fired up my new Weber Charcoal Summit Grill to make a budget-friendly version of one of my favorite meals – paella. Traditional paella is complex and requires some ingredients that can be on the pricey side, especially if this is something you’re making for meal prep.
My version is cost effective, using common pantry items and spices so that you don’t break the bank, all while STILL tasting amazing and “smoky.” You can be in/out of the “kitchen,” or your backyard/patio, in under 1 hour once the grill gets going.
This was my first time using the Weber Charcoal Summit Grill to smoke my food and true story – ever since I made this recipe about 2 weeks ago, I’ve used the grill no less than 3 times each week.
Here are 2 main things I love about it:
- Easy to care for. The charcoal disposal and multi-level racks inside of the grill make clean up SUPER easy. This was one of the reasons I stayed away from charcoal grills in the past – they were difficult to clean and maintain.
- The size. I love the long ovular shape of the grill – it helps to trap steam and smoke inside to really help flavor the food. Plus the grills is wide enough for multiple things – I was able to fit 2 baking trays on there and still had room to grill chicken breasts.
Smoky Budget Bootstrap Paella
Ingredients for 5 hearty servings
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
- 2/3 cup white onion, diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon garlic
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 2 cups water (OR you can use an additional 2 cups stock)
- 1 can (28oz) fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- fresh parsley
- Your choice of flavored wood chips for smoking (if desired)
- Cook rice according to the instructions given and set aside to cool. for best results, make the rice the night before or a few hours before you plan to make this.
- Fire up your grill – I’m using the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill! Once the charcoal has burned through and the charcoal is white and fiery red, add your choice of flavored wood chips for smoking. Adjust the top vent on the lid to control heat – you want it between 350F-400F initially.
- Assemble kabobs with shrimp and bell pepper. Repeat. (Note: if using wooden kebabs, remember to soak them for at least 30 minutes in water prior to putting on the grill. Place on the grill and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the bell pepper edges are charred and the shrimp is cooked through. Remove from the grill after cooking so the shrimp doesn’t dry out.
- While the kebabs are cooking, set a pot on medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion and garlic. Caramelize the onions in the oil and garlic, about 3 minutes. Then add paprika, turmeric and thyme. Cook (bloom) the spices in the skillet for about 1 minutes, making sure the spices are not burning.
- Add COOKED rice and mix together for 1 minute, ensuring all the grains of rice are covered – the rice should be a vibrant yellow-ish color.
- Pour in chicken stock, water and roasted tomatoes. Add sea salt & pepper. Stir.
- Add the kebabs, sliding the ingredients off the skewer into the pot.
- Fold in frozen peas and mix everything together. Note: the mixture should appear a bit more like soup but it WILL thicken up as it cools and some of the liquid will evaporate. If you need more liquid, simply add tablespoons of chicken broth until you reach desired level.
- Bring to a light simmer, then place the pot on the smoky grill. Cook UN-covered on the grill for 30 – 40 minutes at 300F (adjust the vents to control temperature – smaller vents to lower temp).
- Remove from the heat, stir, garnish and enjoy!
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