If you’ve ever been to Spain and tried their classic dish, Paella, you’ll know how good it is and want to make this immediately; if you haven’t been yet, let this recipe give you a sneak preview of the delicious seafood flavors that blend together in this traditional rice dish, hailing from the coastal town of Valencia. Akin to the Italian risotto, this dish employs stock or water-absorbing rice as its backbone, jazzed up with an assortment of meats or shellfish, and tinted yellow from the lovely saffron. (Because saffron is such an expensive ingredient, it’s used sparingly, but effectively.) This dish is perfect for big groups, since you can mingle while the rice cooks, and when you taste it, you’ll feel as though you’ve transported to the Spanish seaside!
Seafood and Chorizo Paella
- 1 1/2-2 cups paella rice (Calasparra or Valencian)
- 5 cups seafood stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 4 oz. Spanish chorizo sausage, skin removed, diced
- 4 oz. tomato, skin and seeds removed, diced
- 12 shrimp or prawns, with tails
- 12 mussels, rinsed and patted dry
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
- lemon wedges, garnish
- In a large pot, heat seafood stock and water over medium-high heat, crush saffron and add it to the liquid.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large (4-5 qt.) saute pan over medium-high heat and add diced onions, bell peppers and crushed garlic. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Cook until translucent and fragrant.
- When onions and peppers are softened, add another 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and cook chorizo until heated and browned. Stir to distribute the spices.
- Drizzle in the remaining olive oil and add the rice to the pan. Stir, coat in oil and let toast for 1-2 minutes.
- Add hot seafood stock, water and tomatoes to the rice, chorizo and vegetables, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes, or until rice has absorbed much of the liquid, but mixture is still soup-y.
- Add mussels and cook until rice is tender. If rice is still not tender when most of liquid is absorbed, add some more stock or water.
- Add shrimp to the pan and cook on low for another 10-15 minutes, flipping in the middle. Shrimp should be light pink, mussels should have opened up and rice should smell toasted but not burned.
[Any mussels that aren’t open should be discarded.]
- Remove paella from heat, cover with a clean tea towel and let rest 5 minutes.
- Garnish with lemon wedges and serve hot.
Recipe adapted from Spanish Table