JOHN: As many of you know, after an extremely challenging pregnancy, we lost our little baby Jack on the last day of September 2020. Leading up to that day, Chrissy was doing her best to save his life. Her placenta had abrupted and the doctor said our only hope was for Chrissy to stay on bed rest: Don’t move, and maybe things will heal and he could safely grow.
Our anniversary falls on September 14, and I had planned a romantic getaway, but we couldn’t do that. When your partner is carrying your child and things are so challenging, it’s a very powerless feeling. I wanted to help as much as possible, but there’s nothing you can do about the central cause for concern. The best you can do is to be there to support her and make all the other aspects of her life easier, more joyful, in any way you can. So, I made a plan to cook her a special anniversary meal. We talked about it in the morning and she said she was craving Spanish tapas. So, I set out to fulfill all of Chrissy’s desires and “Spaniversary” was born. I made bacon-wrapped dates, ham and cheese croquetas, and gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp) starters, and the main course was a hearty paella full of spice and bursting with a wonderful combination of rice, vegetables, meat, and seafood. It definitely made Chrissy’s night.
Of course, a beautiful meal won’t solve all your problems, but it’s a good way to show someone you love them. Make this paella for someone you love.
Reprinted from Cravings: All Together. Copyright © 2021 by Christine Diane Teigen. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Alex Lau. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy Spanish-style chorizo sausage links, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
4 small skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 jumbo onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, with juice
2 teaspoons paprika
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 generous pinch of saffron threads (just under ¼ teaspoon)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 ¾ cups Calsaparra, Bomba, or Arborio rice (all “round,” starchy varieties)
8 jumbo (about 1 pound) shrimp, preferably with peel and head, or 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1 Lemon wedges, for serving
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