Updated: Sep 11, 2020
While it is true that I do most of the cooking in our household, my husband, Michael, is actually an excellent cook, and one of his specialties happens to be Paella, the traditional Spanish rice dish. We have honed this recipe over the nearly 6 years we've been together, and now it is time to share it with you. While we love using a combination of seafood, chicken, and Spanish chorizo in our paella, you can easily substitute pretty much any protein or even make it vegetarian if that's what spins your spurs.
A couple of quick notes that will help to ensure your success with this recipe. First, you will need an 18-inch paella pan (we love this one). Second, I highly recommend using only Valenciana (Bomba) rice. Other kinds of rice have different starch content and soak up liquid differently, leading to mushy or sticky paella. Third, we use a combination of seafood and chicken stock. You can absolutely use all chicken stock, but a quality fish stock really takes a seafood paella to another level. Finally, it is incredibly important to have all your ingredients prepped and measured out so that you don't have to keep running back and forth between the kitchen and the grill. Yes, this means you'll be creating a lot of dishes, so the trick is to enlist a helper to wash bowls (that's me!) as you add ingredients to your paella pan.
Now, let's make some paella!
Grilled Seafood, Chicken, and Chorizo Paella
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut in half
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 bell peppers (we like red, orange or yellow), diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón ahumado)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups Spanish Valenciano (Bomba) rice
14 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized cubes
12 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into thin diagonal slices
12 head-on shrimp
6 New Zealand green-lipped mussels
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 (14.5 ounce can) seafood stock
9 cups chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Using a box grater, coarsely grate the tomatoes into a colander set over a large bowl. Discard the tomato skins and the liquid in the bowl. Set the tomato pulp aside in a medium bowl. Place onion and bell peppers in another bowl. Measure garlic, paprika, and salt into a small bowl. The rice, seafood, chicken and chorizo all go in their own bowls as well.
2. Heat a grill to medium (350° to 450°). Meanwhile, toast the saffron in a large saucepan over medium heat on a stove, stirring, until fragrant. Add the seafood and chicken broths and the wine. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Carry all your ingredients, your paella pan, a slotted spoon, a ladle, and some oven mitts to the grill.
3. For a charcoal grill, add 15 briquets to the fire just before cooking and cook with lid off through step 6. For gas, keep the lid closed as you cook. Heat the paella pan on the grill. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, followed by the chicken, and brown it all over. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken to a clean bowl and add chorizo to the pan to brown. Transfer the browned chorizo to the bowl with the chicken.
4. Add the onion and peppers to the pan and sauté until the onion is softened. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until any remaining liquid evaporates and the pulp begins to darken. Stir in remaining olive oil and the garlic mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the rice, chicken, and chorizo until evenly coated, then pat out so everything is level.
5. Using a ladle, carefully pour hot saffron liquid over rice until the liquid is just below the top of the pan. You may not use all the broth mixture. If needed, reduce gas or airflow in vents on lid and at base of grill (for charcoal grill) to maintain a steady simmer.
6. Arrange shrimp and mussels around rim of pan, almost touching, pushing them into liquid.
7. Cover the grill and cook paella until shrimp and mussels are cooked through and rice done. Check occasionally to see if you need to add more broth mixture to the pan to ensure the rice cooks but doesn't burn. Carefully remove paella from grill and set on a heatproof spot. Drape with a towel and let stand about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.