1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1 package of trimmed chicken thighs cut into pieces
(I make chicken ahead of time, cut into bite size pieces, set aside to add later)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or enough to cover bottom of pan
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced (you can use ground chorizo too)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Spanish onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 each, red and yellow bell pepper
Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, keep some for garnish
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups short grain Spanish rice (I like “Matiz Valenciano Paella Rice”. I get it at Whole Foods)
6 cups chicken broth (have extra on hand)
Generous pinch saffron threads
1 dozen clams, scrubbed
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 dozen rinsed mussels
Lemon wedges, for serving
Combine the paprika and oregano in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator. I like to have the chicken cooked prior to starting the Paella. When it’s done, I cut into bite size pieces and set it side to add later.
Heat oil in a Paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. If you used ground chorizo, you can leave it in the pan and move to the next step.
In the same pan, make a “sofrito” (sauce) by sauteing the onions, garlic, peppers and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture/sofrito/sauce caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld.
Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in broth, add saffron threads and simmer for 10-15 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. (Have extra broth on hand to add if rice isn’t as tender as desired…taste test!)
Add chicken and chorizo- mix it into the rice.
Add the clams, mussels and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. You’ll know it’s done when it turns a beautiful orange. The clams and muscles will show you their done when they open.
When everything is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, the seafood looks done, turn the heat up for 40ish seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom. It will smell “nutty” and then it’s perfect. This is when Socarrat happens. “Socarrar,” means to lightly singe and toast. Be careful not to burn! This is the key to mastering Paella. It takes awhile to perfect the technique but think of it as a challenge! Regardless, it will be so delicious and colorful no one will know but you whether you achieved it or not!
Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. During that time, add the parsley and lemon wedges-Presentation is everything! You and your guests will not help but smile at this beautiful gift you are presenting!
Check the size of your Paella pan to determine recipe size.
Keywords: Paella recipe, rice dish, spanish rice, paella, Spanish cuisine, seafood rice, meat and rice, saffron rice,