This Spanish Paella recipe with shrimp, mussels, and Spanish chorizo is perfect for this 4th of July weekend, or any weekend! Fun to make with the family, because there are quite a few steps, you may want some help! It’s a fun change from the usual barbecue fare, pretty amazing.
Growing up, we had a boat on the St. Croix River. We would spend most weekends on the boat at Highline beach (on the Sconie side!) and the 4th of July was always ‘Kid’s Day’. Sort of like Mother’s/Father’s Day, but this day was all ours. Long before any Tommy, Dickie and Harry could have a Jumpy House in their back yard, those things were pretty cool, and special. The organizers would set one up on the beach. I could spend hours in that thing, hot as heck, but I didn’t care. I still love jumping in those things, even if they are in Tom, Dick, or Harry’s back yard! Those days would end with burgers loaded with sand, warm potato salad (not in a good way warm!) and a sun-burn. Always a sun-burn. But the prize of the day were some pretty fabulous fire-works over the river. At the end, all the boats would sing their praises with horn honking and hoots and hollers. Good times.
In more recent years, we spent time at our summer weekends tini-tiny little cabin in Northern Wisconsin. This time with my own girls and the hubs and some of the best cabin neighbors ever. Still the same great memories, only the food was a bit the better:), no Jumpy House, but we’d jump off the pontoon into the lake (the best!), and still some of the best fireworks around. The weekend would be celebrated with the best of friends and fantastic live music at a neighboring cabin, you could hear the party from every corner of the lake. We’d dance like no one was watching. We even made an awesome weekend when all the power was out, for days! Breaks my heart to not be there this holiday weekend, but hopefully that sweet cabin will continue to make memories for it’s new family.
This Paella recipe will satisfy the hungriest crowd. Make it on the grill if you can, it would be even better! Some tips: be sure to get Spanish cured chorizo. Short grain rice is best, if you can’t find the kind listed, you can use arborio (the type used for risotto), you may need to cook it a bit longer. Add or subtract what ever protein you like, but really, try the shrimp and mussels, yummy. Have a wonderful 4th of July, stay safe, do some cooking with your friends and family, and be sure to dance like no one is watching.
p.s. Be sure to watch for the next recipe this week: Fig and Goat Cheese Salad, it goes beautifully with the Paella. xo
Paella with Shrimp, Mussels, Chorizo and Chicken
Makes 6-8 servings
6 cups chicken stock (I prefer low-sodium)
Healthy pinch of saffron threads (if you don’t want to use saffron, a half teaspoon of turmeric will give you that great golden color, and it’s much less expensive!)
Kosher salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
3 boneless chicken thighs or 2 bone-in chicken breasts
12 tail-on uncooked shrimp (16-20/lb)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, cut in ½-inch wide strips
1 6-7 inch long (about 5 oz. Spanish chorizo (not the Mexican variety, the Spanish is cured like a pepperoni) cut into half moons.
1 onion sliced
2-3 Tomatoes (either fresh and put through a food processor, or one can of good quality)
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, tied with kitchen string
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups Spanish short or medium grain rice (don’t use long-grain rice)
One can of quartered artichokes, drained and rinsed
½ cup shelled fresh fava beans (or frozen peas)
2 lemons cut into wedges (for serving)
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Toast the saffron gently in a dry skillet or toaster oven (just until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes; don’t let them burn). Crumble the threads between your fingers, and add to the broth. If using turmeric, just add it to the stock. Taste and add salt if necessary (it should be very well-seasoned, salted as if it were a soup). Keep covered at a low simmer until you’re ready to add to the rice.
Season the chicken pieces generously with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil into a flat bottomed (I use a LeCreuset ‘Everyday’ pan) or paella pan over medium high heat, add chicken and sauté until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter. In same pan, saute the shrimp for 1 minute per side, remove to plate. Reduce the heat to medium low. In the paella pan, cook the red pepper and chorizo to crisp it up, 4-5 min., transfer to a plate.
To make the sofrito, which is the flavor base of aromatic veggies for the paella. Add the onions to the same pan, and after 5 minutes, add the tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and smoked paprika. Sauté until veggies are tender and the color is a rich reddish brown, about 10 min.
Pour the simmering broth into the pan with the sofrito. Place the rice in the pan. Gently stir the rice into the broth sofrito mixture, being certain all the rice is surrounded by liquid. Simmer for 8-10 minutes (this timing depends on the rice you are using, accommodate to the instructions on package, rice can take 10 minutes, or sometimes 30 it all depends), but don’t cover the rice (trust me).
Arrange into the rice, the chicken and shrimp, chorizo, pepper strips, artichokes and fava beans into the rice, then place the mussels around the edges. Let cook another 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Taste the rice, al dente is when the rice has a white dot in the center. If it’s not done, add some more liquid and simmer a few more minutes.
(This is very important, and the most delicious part!) The crispy, caramelized crunch from the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and, rotating the pan, cook for about 2 minutes, until the bottom layer of rice starts to caramelize, creating the socarrat. The rice will crackle, but if it starts to smell burned, remove the pan from the heat immediately.
Let the paella rest: Remove the pan from the heat. Cover loosely with foil or a clean kitchen towel and let the paella rest for 5 min. to even the cooking and let the flavors meld.
Set the paella pan in the center of the table. Invite people to eat directly from the pan, starting at the perimeter, working toward the center, and squeezing lemon over their section.