There are few things my hubby likes more than a paella. It’s the perfect dish for Dave – it has spice, tomatoes and a perfect combination of chicken, sausage and mussels. If you are precise with your measurements, the dish will come out absolutely perfect every time. A good paella is layer upon layer of fresh ingredients.

You start by steeping your saffron and on medium heat mixed in with the diced tomato and Chicken/Clam Juice Broth. Then – in the opposite of risotto – you add all the liquid to the cooked rice at once, and stir it as little as possible. Perfectly done paella rice will be dry and the slightest bit toothsome: it’s not creamy or overly moist.

The key ingredient in paella is rice, usually bomba rice, which in the paellera (paella pan) forms a crusty layer called soccarat — that’s the prized piece everyone fights for.

Paellas come in many different types: In Valencia there’s the classic version, made with rabbit, snails, and beans, and there’s the seafood version, which can include clams, mussels, squid, shrimp and lobster. Outside of Valencia, especially here in the States, you’ll find mixed paellas, which blend seafood and meats, such as chicken and/or chorizo sausage. And there’s also vegetarian paella!

My paella is a hybrid with spicy chorizo, bell peppers and mussels and boneless crispy chicken thighs with the skin on…

Ingredients

  • 1 t. saffron, crushed and steeped in 3 T. stock
  • 2 cups broth — 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup clam juice
  • chopped peeled tomato (drained from can, amount to taste)
  • 1 t. Spanish or Hungarian paprika
  • dash turmeric (for color)
  • 1 drained 14 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • Spanish olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 pound sliced Spanish Chorizo Sausage
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 8 oz boneless chicken with skin
  • 1 roasted peeled red pepper, cut into slices (or from jar)
  • 1 cup paella rice (Matiz from Whole Foods) or other mediterranean rice
  • 10 mussels (debearded and cleaned)
  • OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS: you could add shrimp, artichoke hearts, peas, but adjust proportions so that rice is not overwhelmed.

Directions

  1. Boil together the broth, saffron and the broth it steeped in, tomato, paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in the paella pan or cast iron 12 inch frying pan.
  3. Add garlic and onion and cook until soft, then remove.
  4. Pan brown the sausage, cooking until the sausage is evenly browned, remove from pan. Finish off in the Microwave for about 1:30. Set aside.
  5. Use some of the boiling broth to deglaze the pan, return pan sauce into the boiling broth.
  6. Re-Olive oil the pan, and then brown chicken, adding oil as needed, until about 75% done, then remove.
  7. Use some of the boiling broth to deglaze the pan, return pan sauce into the boiling broth.
  8. Add more oil, add rice, and cook until translucent.
  9. Add boiling broth, cook at medium for 5 minutes. Careful with the splatter because Turmeric and Saffron will stain quickly if you don’t clean up immediately.
  10. Lower heat, arrange chicken, bell pepper, mussels, sausage and any optional ingredients, and cook 15 minutes
  11. Cover, continue cooking on very low, about 5 more minutes.
  12. Note: you may need to move pan around so heat is even; you want the water to be absorbed and the bottom to begin to get crusty.
  13. Let stand about 5 minutes, discard mussels that do not open.