| Prep Time: 15 mins
| Cook Time: 30 mins
| Total Time: 45 mins
You may need: Dried Garlic Powder
One of Spain's most identifiable dishes is paella, a one-pan rice dish that has many variations but typically includes meat, seafood, shellfish and / or some fresh vegetables. Paella originated in Valencia on Spain's east coast, and is a standard on many top restaurants' menus.
If you have never made a paella, it may be intimidating. However, there are only a few critical items for this recipe, one being the Valencia (paella) rice, a short-grain variety that cooks perfectly al dente. Target, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods are known to carry this variety. Or save yourself a trip and order online. Another critical item is saffron, included this month. Finally, you need as wide (and flat) a pan as possible so that the rice can spread out as evenly on the bottom as possible. A 12" pan will suffice, but use the largest one you have. Otherwise, all ingredients are just suggestions!
8-10 large shrimp, peeled, deveined with tail-on
1 lb of chicken breast, cut into 2" cubes
8 oz Spanish Chorizo (or Andouille Sausage), cut into thick "coins" or rounds
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 ripe tomatoes, cored then minced
1 medium white onion, minced
2 cups Valencia or bomba rice (short-grain)
5 cups chicken stock
2.5 tbsp of Piquant Post Paella Spice
1 pinch (~20 threads) Piquant Post Royal Saffron
8 oz frozen (or fresh) peas
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4-6 strips of jarred roasted red peppers (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Paella is best made with the proper Spanish rice: look for Valencia, Bomba, or Calasparra rice varieties selected for their ability to absorb water and maintain an al dente texture. You might even order online at Amazon, Target, or WalMart to save trips searching store shelves. Arborio rice is great for risotto, but not for paella mixta, where it ends up becoming too moist.
Save time by buying frozen cooked tail-on (peeled) shrimp.
Spanish chorizo is different than Mexican chorizo. For starters, it's already cured (like salami) so does not require cooking, but it also has a very different taste so we don't recommend swapping them. Spanish chorizo is another candidate for ordering ahead online. However, we found ours at Whole Foods. If you can't find Spanish chorizo, you can use (Louisiana-style) Andouille sausage.
Paella is traditionally cooked over an open flame or fire. The intense heat develops a nice crust on the bottom of the rice. In fact, in Spain, the crust of the paella rice is the most sought after part. This is why it's important to not stir the pan once you add the rice so you develop a crust.
How do you know if you're cooking long enough to develop a crust at home? First, the liquid should be completely disappear in the pan for at least a few minutes. Second, you might start to hear a little, soft crackling sound from the rice once the moisture has been soaked in and the heat is searing the rice on the bottom. This is a good sign you're getting close. Finally, you can take a spatula to lift the side of the rice and check the bottom to see if it's developing a chocolate-brown colored crust.
No need to use bay leaves in our recipe. Our Paella spice blend has just the right amount of freshly-ground bay leaf in it.
(optional) Finish the dish by squeezing a little lemon over the top.
Lastly, optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don’t sweat it if you don’t have them.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large (at least 12", preferably 15") skillet on Med-High. Add the chorizo and cook for ~4 mins. Add the chicken and shrimp and cook for 5 mins, stirring frequently, until chicken begins to brown. Remove meat and shrimp to a plate.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to skillet, turning heat down to Med. Add onions, tomatoes, and garlic and cook for ~5 mins, stirring frequently. When the mixture begins to brown, add the chicken stock, Paella spice, and saffron (plus soaking liquid) to the dish and bring to a slow boil.
Paella Mixta is a blank canvas waiting for you to experiment. Beyond the short-grain rice, tomatoes, onions, saffron and spices, you can feel comfortable adding just about any meat, seafood, or veggies that you like.
Some ideas to spur your creativity: try artichoke hearts, zucchini, mushrooms, mussels or clams, green beans, asparagus, or (pitted) green olives.
Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!