Not Your Average College Food

Paella Valenciana

Dinner | June 13, 2013 | By

Get ready to fall in love with this traditional paella that originated from Valencia, Spain. Your taste buds will literally start dancing from the intricate flavors of this dish! I’ve always thought of paella as 5 fabulous dishes in 1. Instead of separately cooking your rice, vegetables, chicken, and seafood, they are thrown all together in one flat pan!

My mom and I have made paella before, but we recently learned from a paella class that it is crucial to use the right ingredients to get the authentic Spanish flavor. The key ingredients that make paella so special are saffron (precious threads of a flower that make the rice yellow), bomba rice (a short, fat grain), and chorizo (a flavorful Spanish sausage).

Paella is a truly spectacular dish. Once you put in all the ingredients, you’re not allowed to touch it or move the ingredients around. You just sit and let it cook (and hope it doesn’t burn). If it does start to burn a little on the bottom or sides, well then you have that famous socarrat (tasty, toasted rice at the bottom of the pan)!

Every paella dish is a work of art, just bursting with colors and flavors. A masterpiece really. There are many variations of paella, but this recipe is my absolute favorite. It features chicken and seafood and a sofrito made of parsley, onion, garlic, and tomatoes.

(serves 4-6)

1 (3-pound) frying chicken (cut into 10 pieces)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish chorizo sausage, chopped finely
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Bunch parsley leaves, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
4 cups bomba rice
6 cups of chicken broth
Pinch of saffron threads
6-8 mussels
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
6 long strips of red pepper
1/2 cup green peas, frozen and thawed
1 lemon, cut into wedges

1 Paella pan (13-inch)


Season shrimp and chicken generously with salt and pepper.

Place paella pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil.

Sautee the chorizo pieces until brown. Set aside.

In the same pan, brown the chicken.  Set aside.

Finely chop the onion, parsley, and tomatoes. In the paella pan, sautee with garlic until golden brown and the ingredients are blended well. This is called the sofrito.

Add the rice and mix well.

Pour in the chicken broth and let simmer for 10 minutes. Periodically move the pan around so that the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid.

Stir in chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Let it cook for 5 minutes.

Add in the mussels, shrimp, and long strips of cooked red pepper. Let it cook for 15 minutes. When you can smell the rice toasting, it is ready!

Cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes (so the shrimp can turn pink).

Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe


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