Walnut Smoked Chicken Breast Paella with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Pine Nuts

Smoking the chicken and sun-dried tomatoes brings a whole new dimension to paella.  If you like, add other smoked ingredients such as sausage, pork or beef.  Seafood paellas should be made with saffron instead of cumin.


3 Walnut wood chunks (use hickory or alder as substitute)
1/4 cup ground cumin and 5 cups water for water pan
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
12 sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups white rice, preferably short grain
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (if using canned broth, use No MSG type)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup green olives, pitted and sliced

Place wood chunks on charcoal or lava rocks, and pour cumin and water mixture into water pan. Place chicken breasts and sun dried tomatoes in smoker basket and set on lower level grill. Smoke cook for about 20 minutes (electric/gas smoker) or 30 minutes (charcoal smoker). The chicken should be slightly undercooked as it will be sautéed in olive oil later. Remove chicken and tomatoes from smoker and slice chicken into ¼ inch thick medallions.

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle smoked chicken medallions with salt and pepper brown in hot oil, about 30 to 60 seconds on each side. Transfer browned smoked chicken to a plate. Add onion to oil, reduce heat to medium and sauté for about 10 minutes. Then add garlic, pine nuts and tomatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add uncooked rice and sauté over low heat, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in heated chicken stock, parsley, ground cumin, green olives and chicken medallions. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Serves 6