Chicken and Seafood Paella is your answer to the many paellas out there that are so intimidating to make and/or you don’t eat chorizo. Do not fear, your paella answers are here!
Paella is one of the few rice dishes that cooks uncovered. My instinct kept making me grab the lid and try to cover it but there is no need! But don’t run off now using any old rice and think it will cook well uncovered, paella is made using Bomba rice which is found at almost any supermarket.
If you’ve ever watched My Big Fat Greek wedding then you know the father that kept trying to trace every word back to the Greek language. Well, sometimes I feel like I’m him and I somehow find a link back to the Arab language or Arab times. Have you seen my article about how tacos have Arab origin? You can read it here. History is so interesting like that so it’s not that far fetched that paella ALSO has Arab origins. Let me explain myself.
According to the Paella company, Valencia in Eastern Spain is the undisputed home of paella. It is one of the largest natural ports in the Mediterranean and has been one of the most important rice-producing areas in Spain since rice was introduced by the Moors over 1200 years ago. In fact, the Spanish word for rice is ‘arroz’, which is derived from Arabic, not Latin like most of Castilian Spanish.
It is also undisputed that Paella has humble roots and was a farmers and workers food. If you swap the “p” to a “b” then the word pronounced “ba’aya” becomes the Arabic word meaning leftovers. It has been widely said that the dish originated as just throwing together the leftovers with some rice to feed the workers who would all eat communally directly from the pan with their own wooden spoon.
In fact, to this day if you order a traditional paella there is no seafood in it but instead chicken, rabbit, and snails with green and white beans. Over time everyone adds their own touch and now there are over 400 paella recipes and from experience it seems most of them include chorizo. Which adds amazing flavor I’m sure, but for some people that don’t like chorizo this is an excellent alternative. As as always, it comes together in less then an hour which is always a plus.
Chicken and Seafood Paella is just as delicious if not more delicious than paella made with chorizo.
- 8-10 Pieces of bone-in chicken drumlets
- 10-12 Shrimp preferably with shell on
- 10-12 Mussels
- 1 Onion Chopped
- 4-5 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 Vine Tomatoes Chopped
- 2 Cups Bomba Rice or Arborrio
- 5 Cups Chicken Stock
- 2 heaping Teaspoons of Smoked Paprika
- 1 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- Pinch of Saffron Threads
- Salt and Pepper for seasoning
- Canola Oil or alternate high-heat oil
- Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper and half of the minced garlic and let marinate for 30 mins to 1 hour
- Bring chicken stock to slow boil and add saffron (reserve and keep it on low heat). Chicken stock should taste well-seasoned, add additional salt and pepper if needed
- Add oil to 12-15 Inch Skillet (Carbon Steel or Cast Iron) and preheat
- Add chicken and sauté until browned on all sides then remove and reserve
- Add onions, season and sauté until lightly browned
- Add Tomatoes, season and cook until reduced to paste (5-10 mins)
- Add garlic and paprika and cook briefly mixing into tomatoes and onion (1 min)
- Add 4.5 cups chicken stock and stir to combine (reserve the rest and add in if needed)
- Add rice, sprinkling evenly around the pan, then distribute evenly with spoon
- Add chicken, spacing evenly in pan
- Cook on medium low heat for 10 minutes
- Add shrimp, spacing evenly in pan
- Cook for 5 more minutes then add mussels, spacing evenly in pan
- Cook for 5 more minutes (total of 20 minutes since rice was added)
- Turn off heat, sprinkle cilantro on top and cover pan
- Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving
Pan – for even cooking and heat delivery, its critical to use a heavy pan that will conduct and maintain heat, preferably carbon steel, but cast iron can be used as an alternative Rice – use Bomba rice for best consistency. Once rice is added and distributed, do not stir any further as this will cause it to release starch and become sticky. Rice should be firm and fluffy
Seasoning – season ingredients as you add them with salt/pepper to ensure final dish is adequately seasoned
Chicken Stock – rice should remain hydrated for 18-20 minutes. If the chicken stock evaporates before it is done, lower heat and add additional ½ cup of reserved chicken stock