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Making a paella is like making a red sauce (or gravy as some call it). It’s going to be different in every home in Spain. So use that as an excuse to make some substitutions or changes to the recipe. Get creative!


Units Scale
  • 6 cups chicken stock (I prefer low-sodium)
  • Pinch of saffron threads (if you don’t have saffron, a half teaspoon of turmeric will give you that great golden color)
  • Kosher salt (affiliate link) 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
  • 12 oz. jar roasted red bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch wide strips
  • 1 6-7 inch long (about 5 oz. Spanish chorizo* (Spanish cured style) cut into half-moons.


  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 23 tomatoes (either fresh and put through a food processor (affiliate link), or one can of good quality)
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 23 sprigs fresh rosemary, tied with kitchen string
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups Spanish short or medium grain rice (not long-grain rice)
  • 1 14 oz. can of quartered artichokes, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh fava beans (you may use frozen peas or edamame)
  • 12 mussels, cleaned
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges (for serving)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In the same pan, saute the shrimp for 1 minute per side, remove to the plate with chicken. 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 the chicken/shrimp plate.

To make the sofrito:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 the package, rice can take 10 minutes, or sometimes 30 it all depends), but don’t cover the rice (trust me).
  3. 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.

The Socarrat***:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


*Use Spanish chorizo,not the Mexican variety (which is loose like burger meat), the Spanish is cured like a pepperoni.

**A sofrito is the flavor base of aromatic veggies for the paella.

***Socarrat is very important in a paella dish, and the most delicious part!) It’s 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 crunchy, crispy socarrat. The rice will crackle, but if it starts to smell burned, remove the pan from the heat immediately.

Keywords: Paella with Shrimp, Mussels, Spanish Chorizo, Chicken, Socarrat