It was not long ago when I purchased my first paella pan. It was one of those purchases I was truly excited about. See, I had a plan, as usual, with that pan. When it arrived at the house, my wife had said something like ‘what the heck is that?’, and my response with my smile on my face was ‘that’s a paella pan’. That pan was going on our long road trip to a beach house in South Carolina. That pan was going to be blessed and used for serving about twelve people who had no idea that I would be cooking paella for them.
To me, paella is ultimate party, and comfort food. It’s just plain old sexy. Served straight from the pan, paella can be tailored to meet most any needs, but has a couple of essential ingredients. One being saffron and the other being the short grain rice, commonly referred to as Spanish rice, or paella rice. There is also a few variations of making paella. You can have Valencian, seafood, or mixed paella. The one I was going to introduce the party of twelve, was mixed paella. Enough said. My mouth is watering just saying mixed paella.
Let’s get started.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
- 4 links of Spanish chorizo, 1 inch slices
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 tsp saffron
- 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 pinch of oregano
- 4 cups of Spanish rice
- 6-7 cups of chicken stock, warmed
- 1 lb of fresh mussels, cleaned (remove any shells that are open)
- Olive oil, enough to cover bottom of paella pan
To a mixing bowl, add the chicken thighs, and shower them with salt and paprika. Stir around and let them come to room temperature.
Add the olive oil to your paella pan on medium heat. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and let them cook for about 8 minutes until they are nice and browned. Turn over and cook another 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Add the chopped chorizo to the pan, and let these get a nice sear on them, about 4 minutes per side. Remove these from the pan. You should have a nice reddish oil now.
Toss in the onions and garlic, and stir until they begin to sweat, about 8 minutes. Add in the chopped tomatoes and oregano, and give that a good stir. Cook until they get a little pasty, about 6 minutes. Toss in the chopped parsley and saffron, and give another good stir. Shower with a teaspoon of salt.
Pour in the rice, all over the mixture. Give a good stir and make sure the rice is fully incorporated. Turn up the heat just a bit. Slowly pour in the stock, and move the mixture around so that the stock penetrates every area of the mixture. Let this simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
After about 12 minutes, add the chicken pieces, and chorizo back into the mixture, folding it in to make a nice presentation. Next fold in the mussels. Let this cook for about 20 minutes being careful not to stir, and cook until the mussels begin to open. Any mussels that do not open, remove from the pan, and discard.
When you are ready to serve, place the paella pan on some heating pads on the center of your table. Take in the smells, colors, and presentation. Once again, this one is pretty sexy.
Let your guests serve themselves, simply by using a large serving spoon. Serve with plenty of good wine, and enjoy.
Paella stands on its own and does not need any side dishes, but if you think it does, go ahead and make a simple green leaf salad with a drizzle of olive oil and salt.