Paella. It’s all about the pan, and this must be one of the first “one pot meals” ever invented. Learn the basics, then you can freestyle: add shellfish, or not, add tomatoes, or not, add a splash of wine, or not – you’re the chef and you get to make the calls. Thanks to Richard Poncini for his party-sized lobster paellas and his California to Montana coaching on my first solo (albeit with a 15 inch, rather than multiple 36 inch pans). Put the time in on this, you won’t regret it. You can substitutle Arborio rice, but soon you’ll be seeking out a Spanish paella rice like Bomba or Calasparra.
- 1 ½ lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. red chili pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- shrimp (2 pieces per person)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp. Bomba tomato paste concentrate or regular tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika or Spanish smoked paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, minced with a pinch of sea salt
- 3 cups paella rice (Spanish like Arroz Calasparra, Bomba, or substitute short grain rice like Arborio)
- 1 cup white wine or ½ cup French Dry Vermouth
- 1 tsp. saffron threads
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 6 cups water
- mussels or clams (2 pieces per person)
- 2 links Spanish or Basque Chorizo (Idaho Falls brand is good), sliced into ¼ -inch thick rounds
- 2 roasted red peppers from jar, sliced into thin strips or 1 freshly roasted red bell pepper, charred skin and seeds removed, sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- Cook Chicken & Shrimp: Rub the paprika, sea salt, rosemary and chili pepper flakes all over the chicken pieces. Drizzle oil into 15-inch paella pan set on stovetop over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned. Remove to plate. Brown shrimp (if using) in pan 2 minutes, remove to plate.
- Sofrito: Add olive oil to paella pan set over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, 5 minutes. Add Bomba (or tomato paste), paprika, and garlic and scrape pan from outside into center. Cook about 2 more minutes.
- Rice: Add the rice and cook for a minute. Add 1 cup white wine and saffron, boil for a minute. Add water, sprinkle with salt, bring to boil, add back the chicken and cook, stirring every minute or so for 10 minutes; get rice in an even layer then arrange the chorizo slices, shrimp, shellfish, peppers and peas on top of the boiling rice; lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.