Looking for a tried and proven Paella recipe

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Head Chef
Jul 12, 2011
St. Augustine, Florida
I've never made Paella homemade. The only way I've eaten it is as a boxed supper made by "Vigo", as shown in the attachment.

I would love to make it homemade, but need a recipe that has been proven by family love. :chef:

Thanks for any suggestions! :D


  • vigo_paella.jpg
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That boxed stuff is um, disgusting. If you really want to make it, please commit to real saffron. Yes, I know it is expensive, but it is not Paella without it, you will use very little, and a bottle lasts for years.

I use Cook's Illustrated recipe:

Serves 6. Published May 1, 2005.
Why this recipe works:

The key to our paella recipe was finding equipment and ingredients that stayed true to the dish’s heritage. First, we substituted a Dutch oven for a single-purpose paella pan. Then we pared down our ingredients, dismissing lobster (too much work), diced pork (sausage would be enough), fish (flakes too easily), and rabbit and snails (too unconventional). For our streamlined paella recipe, we were left with chorizo, chicken (boneless, skinless thighs), shrimp, and mussels (favored over scallops, clams, and calamari). When we focused on the rice, we found we preferred short-grain varieties. Valencia was our favorite, with Italian Arborio a close second. (less)
The key to our paella recipe was finding equipment and ingredients that stayed true to the dish’s heritage. First, we substituted a Dutch oven for a single-purpose paella pan. Then we pared down our ingredients, dismissing lobster (too much wo...(more)

This recipe is for making paella in a Dutch oven (the Dutch oven should be 11 to 12 inches in diameter with at least a 6-quart capacity). With minor modifications, it can also be made in a paella pan (see instructions below). Dry-cured Spanish chorizo is the sausage of choice for paella, but fresh chorizo or linguiça is an acceptable substitute. Soccarat, a layer of crusty browned rice that forms on the bottom of the pan, is a traditional part of paella. In our version, soccarat does not develop because most of the cooking is done in the oven. We have provided instructions to develop soccarat in step 5; if you prefer, skip this step and go directly from step 4 to 6.


  • 1pound extra-large shrimp (21/25), peeled and deveined
  • Olive oil
  • 8-9medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs , each thigh trimmed of excess fat and halved crosswise
  • 1 red bell pepper , seeded and cut pole to pole into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 8ounces Spanish chorizo , sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias (see note)
  • 1 medium onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained, minced, and drained again
  • 2cups Valencia rice or Arborio
  • 3cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3cup dry white wine
  • 1/2teaspoon saffron threads , crumbled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1dozen mussels , scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2cup frozen green peas , thawed
  • 2teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 lemon , cut into wedges, for serving

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon garlic in medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. 2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer peppers to small plate and set aside.
  3. 3. Add 1 teaspoon oil to now-empty Dutch oven; heat oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add chicken pieces in single layer; cook, without moving pieces, until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn pieces and brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer; transfer chicken to medium bowl. Reduce heat to medium and add chorizo to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl with chicken and set aside.
  4. 4. Add enough oil to fat in Dutch oven to equal 2 tablespoons; heat over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes; stir in remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes; cook until mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until grains are well coated with tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, wine, saffron, bay, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return chicken and chorizo to pot, increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until rice absorbs almost all liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from oven (close oven door to retain heat). Uncover pot; scatter shrimp over rice, insert mussels hinged side down into rice (so they stand upright), arrange bell pepper strips in pinwheel pattern, and scatter peas over top. Cover and return to oven; cook until shrimp are opaque and mussels have opened, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. 5. Optional: If soccarat (see note) is desired, set Dutch oven, uncovered, over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, rotating pot 180 degrees after about 2 minutes for even browning.
  6. 6. Let paella stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened and bay leaf, if it can be easily removed. Sprinkle with parsley and serve, passing lemon wedges separately.
  7. 7. If You're Using a Paella Pan
    A paella pan makes for an attractive and impressive presentation. Use one that is 14 to 15 inches in diameter. A 14-inch ovensafe skillet will work as well, but do not attempt to use anything smaller because the contents will simply not fit. Follow the recipe for Paella, increasing the chicken broth to 3 1/4 cups and the wine to 1/2 cup. Before placing the pan in the oven, cover it tightly with foil. For soccarat, cook the paella, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after about 1 1/2 minutes for even browning.
Recipe Testing

How Much Time is Enough for Good Paella?
We actually rented the pan from a local place called Kitchen Window. Surprisingly, it was the smallest size they had. :)

I also have a nice pan I picked up in Spain that feeds about 8. The wife and I are Paella junkies. We've played around with a lot of variations, including duck and rabbit Paella. I seldom use recipes anymore. Once you get the base rice and liquid amounts down, you can wing it with pretty much anything you like.
As Timothy would say NOM NOM NOM :LOL:

I'm a Southerner, so I say NUM, NUM, NUM, NUM! <cheeks buldging!> Hahahaahaha :D

Yer killin me! :ROFLMAO:

Thank you to each of you for the fantastic recipes! This will get made soon!:chef:

Steve, that photo almost made me attack the fridge......:ohmy:
My dad has a "Paul Bunyan" sized skillet. It is about 3 ft. across...we used to use it at the lake for a "24-guest" walleye feed...now it hangs in the garage.
Wow, I bet that thing could hold the entire contents of my frig! Mine is a single serve pan, too.

Good luck, Timothy. The first lesson I learned when I first started making paella was to cook your sofrito well, down to a melted paste that the rice will soak up.
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