Some may scoff at the idea of a “shortcut” paella that tastes great, but this recipe really delivers amazing flavor in record time. A few key ingredients lend to the authentic flavor – saffron, smoked paprika, and Spanish chorizo – all add tremendous flavor. Everything is cooked in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, but a well-seasoned 12” cast iron skillet will work too, and either pan will produce the paella’s signature crispy bottom crust called soccarat. If you are cooking Paella for more than 2 or 3 people, you might want to consider a traditional paella pan. These are wide and shallow dishes that are perfect for cooking and serving paella. Typically you can get them in carbon steel or enameled steel. Carbon steel lasts longer but is more work to maintain; enameled steel is easier but won’t withstand heavy use.
6 ounces extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 small onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
¼ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
¾ cup Valencia or Arborio rice
Salt and pepper
2 ¾ cups chicken broth
3 ounces Spanish dry-cured chorizo sausage, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Pinch saffron threads (optional)
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
¼ cup frozen peas, thawed, optional
- Pat the shrimp dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until needed.
- Season chicken thighs with salt and ground pepper, set aside until needed.
- Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and red pepper and cook until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in wine, tomato paste, garlic, paprika, and bay leaf and cook until liquid evaporates, and mixture looks oily, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in rice and cook until grains are well coated with tomato mixture, about 1 minute. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Stir in broth, Spanish chorizo, saffron, (if using); chicken; and ⅛ teaspoon salt.
- Bring to strong simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, over medium heat until liquid level falls just below surface of rice but paella still looks wet, 10 to 14 minutes. (After first 5 minutes of simmering, do not stir or paella will become starchy.)
- Add shrimp to pan and nestle halfway into rice. Continue to cook until shrimp are mostly pink, and all liquid has been absorbed, 4 to 7 minutes longer (paella will crackle and pop when liquid is absorbed).
- To develop crust (socarrat) on bottom of paella, continue to cook until crackling and popping sounds become more pronounced, while occasionally rotating skillet over the burner for even browning, 3 to 5 minutes. At this point, shrimp should be almost completely pink, and paella should look dry on top.
- Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with peas and parsley, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and s.erve with lemon wedges and drizzle with extra oil.