Spanish Paella

Spanish Paella

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 Roma tomatoes very finely diced
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tsp paprika sweet or smoked
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped and divided
  • 2 cups Spanish rice
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 lb Jumbo Shrimp or prawns about 12-peeled, tail on
  • 1/2 lb Mussels about 10-12, cleaned
  • 8 oz calamari rings
  • lemons garnish


  • Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add chopped tomato, bay leaf, paprika, saffron salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add white wine and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.
  • Add chicken pieces, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and rice to the pot. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Pour the broth slowly all around the pan and jiggle the pan to get the rice into an even layer. (Do not stir the mixture going forward!).
  • Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Give the pan a gentle shake back and forth just once or twice during cooking. (We don't ever stir the rice, so that a crispy crust forms at the bottom, called a socarrat).
  • Cook for about 15-18 minutes (uncovered), then nestle the shrimp, mussels and calamari into the mixture, sprinkle peas on top and continue to cook (without stirring) for about 5 more minutes. Watch for most of the liquid to be absorbed and the rice at the top nearly tender. (If for some reason your rice is still not cooked, add ¼ cup more water or broth and continue cooking).
  • Remove pan from heat and cover pan with a lid or tinfoil. Place a kitchen towel over the lid and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Serve.Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Serve.


Rice: Spanish rice (also called “bomba” rice, calaspara rice, arroz redonda) is traditional in Paella, and it’s what I recommend using. If necessary you can substitute medium grain rice, like Calrose rice which can be found at most grocery stores, and reduce the broth to 3 ¾ cups. (I don’t recommend using Arborio rice or long-grain rice for Paella).
*Meat: you could also use pork, turkey, rabbit, chorizo or a combination.
*Broth: Authentic paella would include making your own fish stock from the discard shells of seafood. I usually substitute chicken broth for convenience.
*Seafood: You can use any combination of your favorite seafood including clams, scallops and chopped pieces of fish. Frozen seafood is a great accessible option if you don’t live near the ocean. Be sure to thaw frozen seafood in the fridge overnight before using. If buying fresh seafood, smell it to make sure it’s fresh. It should not have a strong fishy odor. Most of the seafood used here will smell like nothing, or just like the ocean (slightly salty). Be sure to clean it properly (remove “beards” from mussels, if necessary).
*Saffron: this may be the most important ingredient, so it’s best to buy high quality. If your grocery store doesn’t carry it, try an International food market, or Amazon. If necessary, substitute 1 teaspoon saffron powder.

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