Paella is a dish with a combination of meat and/or fish with rice and vegetables, originating in Spain. Usually paella is cooked over an open fire, or barbecue in a large metal skillet with handles for easy lifting. The bright presentation of colors is extremely vivid, not to mention devastatingly aromatic from the saffron and spices.
Good paella contains a multitude of fresh ingredients, and usually a little cured Spanish Sausage is involved. However, while traveling through Spain, I have seen paella in many varieties; from vegetarian to duck with rice in a deep brown broth – which was quite interesting.
Making a paella on the stovetop is fairly simple, without losing any exquisite taste. The trick to a great Stovetop Paella is to allow the liquids to evaporate to create a crispy socarrat. The socarrat or crispy caramelized crust on the bottom, adds texture and flavor, a necessity of a great paella.
This paella recipe can be made within 30 minutes or less, you just need to have your ingredients in order (mise en place) and be ready to cook. Also, it works great with leftover meat of any kind, so feel free to get creative!
1 teaspoon saffron threads, at finer grocery or Trader Joe’s
1 white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
3 cured or cooked sausage links, sliced – about 8 ounces
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup cooked pork, shredded or diced (you can use more chicken if you prefer)
2/3 cup Bomba or Arborio rice
14 ounce can tomatoes with diced chiles
1/3 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1. In a glass measuring cup, steep saffron threads in 1 cup of hot water. In a 10-inch skillet or enameled pot with fitted lid, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and place over medium heat. Add onion, red peppers and garlic, saute for 4 minutes. Sprinkle in paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, stir to combine.
2. Add sausage, chicken and pork and stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add saffron with water, stir. Add tomatoes and 2/3 cup hot water to pan and stir. Cover pan with lid and cook on low for 20 minutes.
4. Remove lid and turn heat up to medium. Continue to cook for 8-12 minutes. When socarrat is forming you begin to hear a sizzling sound. Let paella sizzle for 4 minutes. Turn off heat and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve family-style from pan. Enjoy!