I love to entertain. The perfect evenings are the ones where you join a few friends for a relaxing evening in to catch up, eat, and make merry. I think the ideal meals at these “events” are the ones where you all sit together and eat family style. Albeit a bit messy in the eating, paella is a perfect one-pan meal for the fleeting evenings of summer.
Felxibility is the main ingredient in a perfect paella. Yes, the sofrito is very important. However, there is a need for flexibility and adaptation in this dish. The ingredients, conditions, and company will never be the same. So, feel free to use my recipe as the base and create your own perfect paella!
From the delicious paella offered at, my favorite, Cafe Madrid to the paella found on the busy streets of Barcelona, each paella is perfect in it’s own little way.
- Ideally, paella is cooked in a paellera, but you should feel free to give your old cast iron a spin! I’ve done it both ways and each pans lends it’s own personal touch to the dish. I think my cast iron gives a more smoky flavor, whereas my paellra offers a more mellow, harmonious flavor.
- ***Cooking method will differ based on your kitchen. You can start on the stove and finish in the oven; make sure you stradle the burners equally if your paellera is on the larger side. You can cook it completely on the stove top or an outdoor grill/burner with a large enough depth to hold the pan. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions.
- ** REMEMBER These are merely suggested ingredients. Get a little crazy and try some duck, squid, rabbit, or snail if you dare! You can even make it vegetarian.
- My Sofrito style is a little different than most, but it was told to me by an authentic Spaniard and it always proves itself worthy.
Ingredients to serve 4**:
- 2 cups Bombo or Arborrio rice; washed and drained
- 1 Large Tomato; Quartered
- 1 Large Onion; Quartered
- 1 Red Bell Pepper; Cut in half, slice one half for garnish
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper; Cut in half, slice one half for garnish
- 1 Green Bell Pepper; Cut in half, slice one half for garnish
- 1 Lb of Chicken or any meat you desire; Drumsticks or “chunks” are the best.
- 1 full head of Garlic
- 1 cup of Green Peas
- 1 pinch of Saffron soaked in warmed 1/2 cup of Stock ; feel free to use Turmeric as a cheat
- 1 Lb of Shrimp; with shell
- 1 Lb of Mussels or any other shellfish
- 1 Small tube of Chorizo
- 2 cups of Chicken or Fish Stock
- 1 Glass of White Wine
- Salt, Pepper, Cayenne to taste
- Lemon Wedges for garnish
- For the Sofrito: With a grater sitting in a large bowl, grate together the tomato, onion, halves of all of the peppers and about 4 cloves of garlic. The mix will be a little watery when finished. Add in a little salt, pepper and cayenne and set aside.
- Warm about 2 tablespoons of oil in your pan over medium- high heat.
- Set the rest of your head of Garlic in the center of the pan. When the oil sputters, it’s ready.
- Season the meat with a little salt and pepper and sear in the pan. Cook about 5 minutes to get the meat mostly cooked and browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil into the pan.
- Pour in your sofrito blend. Let this cook until it boils and starts to dry a little.
- Add in the Chorizo and cook about 3 minutes. Stir together with the sofrito and coat the bottom of the pan with the mixture.
- Add the rice to the pan and coat well with the mixture. Let cook for about 2 minutes to toast and flavor the rice.
- Pour in the Saffron and stock mixture let cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the meat back into the pan and pour in the remaining stock and let cook on low for about 15 minutes. Make sure to rotate the pan if the cooking surface isn’t large enough. This is when the tasty socorrat at the bottom of the pan builds.
- At this point the rice should be nearly cooked but still firm.
- Stir the contents of the pan well and arrange the shellfish including shrimp, pepper slices and peas on top of the rice. Pour in the wine and a bit of water if needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Cover with foil and let steam on low for 5 to 8 minutes. Until the shrimp is pink and the shellfish opens. ***This is when you would either close the lid of the grill or put the pan into a warm 350 degree oven.
- Uncover the pan and check the rice for doneness. Garnish the pan with the Lemon wedges.
- Place on the table and let people help themselves.
- Serve with a crusty bread. Try your paella as part of a tapas inspired meal.