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Recipes through the Ages Spanish Paella

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • Spanish chorizo, cut into ½-inch discs (Andouille sausage is a good substitute)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads (about 2 pinches)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided (or carrot tops or chives)

  • 2 cups Bomba rice or Calasparra rice

  • 5 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock

  • 8-12 ounces prawns or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on

  • 8-12 ounce cleaned mussels, beards removed (optional)

  • ½ cup frozen peas

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Brown the chorizo on both sides for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  • Add onion, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add tomato paste and stir well, cooking for 1 minute. Add paprika, saffron, and season with 1 teaspoon salt & ¼ teaspoon pepper. Continue to cook and stir for 5 minutes.

  • Season chicken thigh pieces with remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and rice to the pan with the vegetables and oil. Return the chorizo to the pan. Cook and stir for 1 minute. The chicken will not be cooked through and that's okay.

  • Add rice to the meat and veggies. Stir well to coat each of the rice grains in seasonings and oil from the pan.

  • Slowly pour the broth around the pan. Give the pan a shake to settle the rice grains but do not stir from this point onwards. You want a crusty layer of rice to form on the bottom of the pan. This is called the socarrat and it is key to a really good paella. Stirring not only prevents the crust from forming but it also results in mushy rice, which is not what you want in this dish.

  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered for 15-18 minutes, giving the pan a shake once or twice during the cooking process, but do not stir. If it sounds like the paella is drying out before the rice has cooked through, you can add a splash of extra liquid or reduce the heat a little more.

  • Add any seafood like shrimp, mussels, clams, or calamari at this point, if using, and sprinkle the peas on top. You can nestle the seafood down into the rice a bit. Whether you are adding seafood or not, continue to cook the paella uncovered for 5 more minutes until done (about 20 to 23 minutes total time after adding the liquid to the rice). The liquid should be mostly absorbed and the rice should be tender.

  • Remove the paella from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with lemon slices.


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