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Spanish Paella

Paella is a classic grilled rice dish from Spain that can be made with a variety of vegetables, seafood, and meat. While it is not super easy to make, it is delicious and is sure to please!

Step 7, after the broth has been added
The final masterpiece!

Spanish Paella

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes


¾ to 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

¾ to 1 lb. sea scallops, cut into halves or quarters (bite size) depending on size of scallop

1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón dulce)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pound skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces (see Note 1)

2 Spanish chorizos, cut into thin rounds and then cut in half

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed

1 medium yellow onion, small dice

1/2 bell pepper, diced

2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large pinch saffron threads

1 can crushed tomatoes

2 cups paella rice (about 1 pound), sometimes labeled bomba or Valencia (see Note 2)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the shrimp and chicken

4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken, vegetable, or fish broth (see Note 2)

1 lbs. (PEI) mussels, 1 lbs. of small clams (cockles) or 2 lbs. of either, scrubbed.

2 medium lemons, cut into 8 wedges each, for serving

Note 1: I get the thighs with the bone (then debone myself) to use bones to make broth. If you don’t want to be bothered, then get boneless. Dark meat is better than white meat.

Note 2: I either use 2 ¼ – 2 ½ cups of rice and the 4 cups of broth. Or 4 cups of rice and cut back the broth by about 6 oz., unless you like the paella to be more wet/soupy. This is because I use more shell fish and that creates more water. To make the broth, I take all of the chicken bones, fish scraps, and vegetable scraps and boil until the flavor comes out. If you do not want to do this, you can buy broth. The more flavor, the better.

How to Make It

  1. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of the paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and refrigerate.
  2. Place the chicken in a medium bowl and season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill to high (about 450°F to 550°F). Place a 16-inch or slightly larger paella pan on the grill, cover, and heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add the chorizo to the pan, close the grill, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is starting to brown and the fat is rendered, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a large bowl; set aside.
  4. There should be a thin layer of rendered fat in the pan. If there’s not enough, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the seasoned chicken to the pan in a single layer, close the grill, and sear, stirring occasionally, until both sides of the chicken pieces are golden brown, about 6 minutes total. (You will need to rotate the pan occasionally on the grill to evenly distribute the heat.) Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the bowl with the chorizo; set aside.
  5. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan, season with salt and pepper, close the grill, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed on a gas grill or moving the paella pan to a cooler part of a charcoal grill so that the onions don’t burn. Add the garlic, remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika, and saffron, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes and cook until the mixture has slightly darkened in color, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and measured salt and stir to coat in the tomato mixture.
  7. Add the broth and stir to combine. Arrange the rice mixture in an even layer. Distribute the reserved chorizo and chicken over the rice, adding any accumulated juices from the bowl. (Do not stir the rice from this point on.)
  8. Close the grill and bring the mixture to a lively simmer. Continue to simmer, checking occasionally, until the rice grains have swelled, most of the liquid has been absorbed, and the rice begins to make a crackling sound, about 12 minutes. (Make sure to rotate the pan occasionally to evenly distribute the heat, and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a lively simmer.)
  9. Arrange the reserved shrimp, scallops, and the shellfish (hinge-side down) in the rice, nestling them slightly. Close the grill and cook until the shellfish have opened, the shrimp are just cooked through, and the rice is tender but still al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  10. Remove the pan from the grill, cover with foil, and let stand for 5 minutes. Before serving the paella, discard any unopened shellfish. Serve with the lemon wedges

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