Recipe by Ken Wallich

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2-1/2 to 3 hours
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

I’ve since refined this recipe a bit. After cooking many paellas, getting hints from some amazing chef friends. I do keep a lot of it the same, I really like the basic broth, but do a few things differently now.

Paella is, at its heart, a rice dish. Once you get a stock you like, and practice slowly cooking the rice with it, that alone makes a wonderful dish. Then, you can add whatever you or your guests like to it, making it an extremely healthy and versatile dish. Modify this recipe as you see fit, that’s the fun part about Paella, other than the eating! You can make it meatless, with chicken, sausage, seafood, or any combination.

Be sure to use some oil to substitute for the fat extracted from the meat in both the broth and rice preparation, if you choose to go meatless.

Pre-cook all meat you’re going to add, except the seafood which will be cooked in the rice. With shellfish such as mussels and clams I prefer to boil them for 10 minutes, then add them at the last step of the cooking cycle.

Paella:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4+ cups Paella Stock (recipe follows)
  • 1 pound Mexican style chorizo
  • 1/2 pound sliced sausage (go wild!)
  • 1/2 lb de-shelled shrimp (reserve shells)
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 cup bell peppers, diced
  • 1 lemon, sliced in quarters
  • 2 Jalapenos, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 2 cups Paella (or Arborio) rice
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

Stock:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • Shrimp shells from 1/2 lb of shrimp
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1/2 cups onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • Seafood stock, about 2 cups
  • Water 4 cups
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron dissolved in 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tsp Zatarains concentrated Shrimp and Crab boil (optional)

Preparing the Stock (can be prepared ahead of time)

In a large stock pot over high heat add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chicken thighs and ham hock to pot and brown thighs on both sides. Remove chicken, leaving the ham hocks in the pot. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by half. Next add the seafood stock, shrimp shells, saffron, Zatarain’s and 3-4 cups of water. Let simmer for 2 hours, uncovered. I prefer to remove the skin from the chicken thighs as well, you can also just use skinless thighs, just use a little more oil when browning the chicken with the ham hocks. When stock is finished simmering, strain and hold stock on low heat.

Preparing the Paella

In a large saute pan or paella pan or cast iron skillet add 2 tablespoons oil, chorizo, bell pepper, Jalapenos and onion, cook until the onions are just translucent. Add rice, salt and pepper to pan and saute until all grains of rice are coated with oil of the pan. Form rice around the pan so it is level.  Add 1 cup of broth at a time to the rice; do not stir! As broth is absorbed, add another cup of broth. When rice is al dente, or 3/4 of the way of being fully cooked (usually after 4 cups of stock), add chicken thighs (optionally de-skinned), pre-cooked meat or sausage, shrimp, and whatever other seafood/tofu you want to add. Bury any seafood items in the rice so they will cook. Also add lemon slices at this point.

Add one more cup of broth, cover pan with a tightly fitting lid, cook for 10-15 minutes more. Turn off heat, let sit another 15-30 minutes.

My initial inspiration for learning to make Paella started when I visited Barcelona and ate the amazing food there. I started making paella based on a recipe from Guy Fieri on the Food Network

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