Maybe not the original, but this is one damn good paella!
People tend to be very passionate about paella. It’s likely that every region in Spain has what they believe is “the” original paella. We’re not claiming that ours is the original or most traditional, but we do believe it’s really good!
Some paellas are made with only chicken and rabbit, also know as paella Valenciana, others have only seafood, and others, like ours, include both chicken and seafood.
Our recipe is based on lots of research from a variety of recipes from all over Spain. I incorporated bits and pieces of flavours and techniques I liked and created my own version that we’re bringing to you here.
Only the best ingredients for a delicious paella
We’re thrilled to introduce our new collaboration partner, Fiore Foods. Fiore Foods is a specialty food distributor offering diverse, high quality products and specialty imported and locally produced goods.
Rima, co-founder of Fiore Foods, is super friendly and we’re thrilled to be working with her. Rima is as excited about great food as we are, and it was so much fun geeking out with her about our favourite dishes. She seemed genuinely happy when I suggested that our first collaboration would be a paella.
From her catalogue of fine products, we’re using olive oil, paella/bomba rice, chorizo, paprika, and pimiento de piquillo (see the brands in the recipe below). Quality ingredients always elevate a recipe, and we proved this to be true with these fine ingredients. Rima was also kind enough to send us some extra treats in our grocery box, like the Rubio Wasabi flavour potato chips, which we’ve been snacking on over the past few days… thank you Rima!
Tips and tricks for a delicious paella
One characteristic of a good paella is the ‘crust’ that forms at the bottom of the pan. Almost every recipe I read, and every video I watched, referred to this crust. In spain, this crust is known as the socarrat. For our recipe, we created the crust, or the socarrat, by raising the heat under the pan for the last five minutes of the cook. This timing is perfect because it’s in these last five minutes that you add the seafood to complete the dish.
Two key ingredients that make a paella taste like paella are saffron and paprika. If possible, don’t skimp own these two ingredients. Use a good Spanish paprika and either a Persian or Spanish saffron. We know good saffron is very expensive, but it you’re able to, it’s well worth it.
Very often you’ll see videos and online recipes that recommend using a paella pan. Although these pans are great for even-heating, unless you plan on making many paellas, there’s really no reason to buy one. If you have a large deep 12 to 13 inch pan, you’re good to go. That’s what we used and it worked out really well.
One day we’ll have to try paella in Spain to see how we did
I was chatting with a good friend of mine a couple of days ago and I mentioned to him that I’d be making a paella over the weekend. He suggested that what we really need to do is go to Spain to try paella at its birthplace. Well I’m in! One day when this pandemic is over, Liz and I definitely need to make plans to travel more…to see beautiful places and taste authentic foods around this beautiful world of ours.
We know our paella isn’t original and we’re not claiming it as such, but we’re very proud of the final dish! As a diabetic, I tend to avoid white rice because it can spike my insulin levels. I do, however, have occasional treats, and I couldn’t miss out on this meal… so it was my treat. And what a treat it was. Worth every bite!
We hope you give our recipe a try. It’s not a difficult recipe, but it is a little time consuming. It’s perfect for a weekend dinner. While we’re still in pandemic lock-down mode here in Ontario, there’s no reason not to make special meals for the family. Whether you can invite guests over or not right now, we hope you make today yummy!
- 1/4 cup quality olive oil (we used Oro del Desierto from Spain)
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 10 oz or 283g high quality chorizo (cut into round slices (we used Señorio de Montanera from Spain)
- 1/2 medium cooking onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tsp high quality paprika (we used organic paprika by la pastora from Spain)
- 2 generous pinches of high quality saffron
- 400 ml or 13.5fl oz diced tomatoes 1 small can
- 1 1/2 cups fresh green beans chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups paella or bomba rice (we used organic paella rice from Mas Vell. Use arborio rice if you can’t find paella/bomba rice)
- 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup sliced roasted red peppers (we used pimiento de piquillo by Serrano from Spain)
- 1 lbs mussels cleaned
- 1 lbs shrimp shell-on
- Chopped fresh parsley
Pat down the chicken thighs with paper towels to remove moisture.
Heat the olive oil on medium high, in a large deep pan (we don’t have a paella pan).
Once the oil is hot, sear/brown the chicken on both sides, with 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Add the chorizo to the oil, brown for a minute or two, and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium.
Add the onions and sauté for about two minutes, add the garlic and continue to sauté for another two minutes or until the onions are soft.
Add the white wine. Stir and let cook until the wine reduces by half.
Add the cooked chicken and chorizo back into the pan.
Add the diced tomatoes, remaining salt, remaining black pepper, paprika and saffron, and stir everything to coat the meats.
Add the rice and chicken broth, and stir to make sure all the rice is in the liquid.
Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook uncovered for about 17 minutes or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Note: Don’t stir the mixture!
Add the chopped green beans evenly overtop of the rice.
Increase the heat to medium, and press the shrimp and mussels into the rice, cover and cook for another 5 minutes or until the mussels open.
A crusty bottom should have formed. This is called socarrat in Spain. This slightly crusty bottom is key to a great paella.
Uncover the pan, sprinkle the chopped parsley over top, and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!