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Poor Man's Paella

Print Recipe

Traditional Spanish paella is known as an everyman's dish. They're elaborate and are typically made with rice, seafood, and meat and take a lot of preparation to bring to the table. They'll also feed a crowd. But what about a paella that's simple enough for a last-minute workday family meal?


  • 10-ounce can, Ro-Tel “Original” Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup long-grain rice (basmati or jasmine is best)

  • 1 pound grilled wild game sausage, thinly sliced


The rice part is simple. The formula for successful long-grain rice is two parts water to one part rice, brought to a boil in a saucepan and simmered for about 20 minutes until fluffy. This recipe calls for replacing some of the water with spicy Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chili peppers. You know Ro-Tel—it's the same stuff you mix with Velveeta to make that yummy party dip! Since the Ro-Tel has some tomatoes in it, I consider the 10-ounce can to be one cup, and then add a cup of water and a cup of rice.

I find this dish to be good with wild game sausage. It could also be made with shrimp or chicken, or with any combination—or all three—of those meats. Luckily I have lots of friends who bring me packages of sausages at the end of hunting season, so I have lots of choices among sausages, too.

Some packages contain wild hog meat, with Italian seasonings like fennel seeds and parsley. Others are venison based, with basil and garlic flavorings. In all cases, it seems the best versions have been ground with about 20-percent pork fatback. All these sausages work well, especially when grilled and then sliced thinly and stirred into the cooked rice, tomato and pepper mixture.

One word of advice about this recipe. Ro-Tel is pretty hot. To make the dish a bit milder, you may want to dilute some to get the 10-ounce amount you use. I've tried it full-strength, but found it so hot I almost couldn't enjoy the flavor of the sausage. Half-strength is a good compromise, unless you like the heat. FS

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