Looking for an exquisite dish to prepare for the holiday season?! Celebrate by cooking my Foolproof Chicken and Seafood Paella! This is a classic Spanish rice dish and my version is filled with chicken thighs, chorizo, one whole pound of large shrimp and clams. You’re probably wondering what makes this “foolproof” exactly? It’s all in the spice blend!
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Why this recipe works
- It’s packed with flavor and protein. You can swap out proteins as well.
- It’s great for a small get together as an appetizer or as a main entree.
- Though Paella can seem intimidating, it’s quite simple to make and you can prepare some of the ingredients ahead of time.
Creating Foolproof Chicken and Seafood Paella
Paella is known for one of it’s main ingredients: Saffron. While people use saffron threads for various dishes, many people I know only buy it to use in Paella. They tell me the rest goes to waste or they don’t know what to use it in or how much they should even use.
A spice I found recently is a Paella spice blend from a company called Rumi.
With using this spice blend, the saffron is already included along with black pepper, smoked paprika, Spanish paprika, rosemary, thyme and oregano. With keeping waste and price in mind, I suggest going with a spice blend versus buying saffron separately if you don’t intend to use it for anything else.
You can use this spice blend in soups or add it with olive oil to either sear or roast chicken thighs. YUMMM!
Ingredients needed for this Spanish Paella
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Sweet onion. White or yellow can be used.
- Red bell peppers. The sweet juices make this paella vibrant.
- Garlic cloves.
- Heirloom tomatoes. Heirlooms are divine but regular tomatoes will also work or whatever tomato is in season.
- Frozen peas.
- Manila clams. Mussels are delicious as well. I chose clams as a personal preference.
- Prawns. For presentation purposes, I use fresh prawns with the shell on. The best prices are at Costco. Regular prawns can be used. Fresh is best but if using frozen prawns, be sure to defrost them first.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs. I made this mistake once of using bone in and with skin on. It made prepping this dish VERY hard and longer than needed to take trying to get the chicken off the bone.
- Chorizo. Chorizo has lots of flavor, so if you omit this from the recipe, you may need to adjust your spices.
- Chicken broth or chicken stock. I use low sodium.
- Calasparra rice. This rice is meant to be used for a paella recipe. Short grain and arborio rice can also be used.
- Paella spice blend from Rumi. If you are unable to locate this blend, you can create you own by combining: Black pepper, smoked paprika, Spanish paprika, rosemary, thyme and oregano along with a pinch of saffron threads.
How to make Spanish Paella
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In the paella pan,you will heat the olive oil over medium heat. Start by sauteeing the sweet onions and the bell pepper until they start to sweat their juices. Add a touch of salt and pepper. When they are done, transfer them to a plate and set it aside.
- In same pan, turn the heat down to low and cook the chorizo. This can take about 8 minutes. The chorizo should be fully cooked when it is brown. Then transfer it to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the grease.
- Returning to the pan, add a touch more of olive oil and the cut up chicken thighs. Let the chicken for 15-18 minutes. Add another dash of salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
Now to the Seafood for this delicious Paella
4. Add more oil if needed, add the prawns and sauté until opaque. Remove from the pan and set aside.
5. Adding a bit more oil to the pan, then add the garlic, peas, heirloom tomatoes, sweet onions and bell peppers. Let the mixture cook down for about 20 minutes. This is an important step because all the juices and flavors are coming out.
6. Meanwhile, the clams are cooked seperately in a large pot with 2 inches of water and a steam basket. Let them steam for 5 minutes. Discard any that didn’t open.
7. In a sauce pan, add the chicken broth and the paella seasoning and let it warm up, almost to a boil. Then remove it from the heat and set is aside.
8. Returning the garlic tomato mixture in the paella pan, add the rice, chorizo, and chicken thighs. Season with a little salt and pepper. Start with adding 3 cups of chicken broth to the paella and let it cook for about 12 minutes.
9. Then add the additional chicken broth, about another 1/2 cup if needed and let it continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Let the rice cook and gently stir it.
10. Carefully place the paella in the oven to finsh cooking. This can take 7 minutes.
11. Remove the pan from the oven when done and arrange the prawns and clams on top. Set it aside for 15 minutes, so that the rice can continue to cook.
12. Garnish with the fresh lemon wedges and parsley.
Here’s a quick tip for creating the best paella recipe
There’s a lot of prep that goes behind a great Paella. This is something you definitely want to plan out. You can cut up the vegetables such as the peppers and onions the night before. Also you can cook up the meats ahead of time like the chorizo and the chicken. I would save the seafood for the day of, as fresh is best.
Also if you’d like to swap some of the proteins out in this recipe, you totally can! Such as instead of shrimp, you can use mussels or you can keep this just as a chicken paella and omit the seafood.
Choosing and Maintaining a Paella Pan
A 15 inch Paella pan will be big enough to serve 8 people and works on the stove top. There are other sizes available. If you are using a carbon steel pan, it is very important that you don’t air dry it. After you wash it, you will want to dry it right away then “season” it by rubbing it with vegetable oil. Then the you are ready to use it again, simply remove the oil by washing it with hot soapy water. Fully dry it before use. If you don’t have a Paella pan, you can use a large skillet that is oven proof or cast iron. The key is to have the pan be shallow, wide and oven safe.
Tips on Paella Rice
The rice that you want to use when making Paella is Calasparra. Check your local speciality grocery store like World Market. Also some chain store also carry this Paella rice. A good substitute is calrose, short grain rice or Arborio.
When making this rice, it is important to cook it on the stove top first. Add the broth in batches and mix it up. Then you will want to finish off the cooking process in the oven. Here’s how you get the perfect al dente: when you pull the rice out of the oven, let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.
I promise you it will be worth it!
Why I created this recipe and why you will love Chicken Seafood Paella
Spanish food and Latin Cuisine are my comfort food. I love Paella and so does my family. After coming across this spice blend and experimenting with it, I found this to be one the easiest Paella recipes I have created and made.
You can make this an easy seafood paella recipe by omitting the chicken and chorizo and adding scallops, mussels or other white fish.
What to serve with this paella recipe
This Spanish paella recipe can be enjoyed as a main course or served tapas style along with empanadas, manchego cheese and grapes, garlic prawns and a spanish tortilla.
White wine or Sangria makes this paella dinner recipe complete.
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Let’s Cook Foolproof Chicken and Seafood Paella !
Foolproof Chicken and Seafood Paella
- large paella pan 8 serving size pan paella pan
- steamer basket and large pot to steam the clams
- 2 large spatulas
- 4 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin, divided
- 1/2 sweet onion thinly sliced
- 2 small red bell peppers thinly sliced
- 12 garlic cloves minced
- 1 large heirloom tomato chopped
- 1/2 cup peas frozen
- 1 pound chicken thighs about 4 thighs, skinless, cut up
- 1 pound manila clams
- 1 pound prawns shell on
- 1/4 pound chorizo
- 1 1/2 cups calasparra paella rice
- 32 ounces chicken broth
- sea salt as needed
- black pepper as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon paella spice blend from Rumi Spices
- 1 large lemon cut into wedges
- 1/4- 1/2 cup italian parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a paella pan, heat about 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium/low heat. Sauté the sweet onions and the bell peppers for about 10-12 minutes or until they start to sweat their juices. Add a touch of salt and pepper.
- Transfer them to a plate and set them aside.
- On low heat, in the same pan, add the chorizo and cook for about 5-8 minutes. When done, remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
- Then add a touch more of olive oil and the chicken thighs. Let the chicken for 15-18 minutes. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
- Then adding more oil if needed, add the prawns and sauté until opaque. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then add the garlic, peas, heirloom tomatoes, sweet onions and bell peppers. Let the mixture cook down for about 20 minutes.
- In a large pot with 2 inches of water and a steam basket, add the clams. Let them steam for 5 minutes. Discard any that didn't open.
- In a sauce pan, add the chicken broth and the paella seasoning and let it warm up, almost to a boil.
- Remove them from the heat when done and set aside.
- Returning the garlic tomato mixture in the paella pan, add the rice, chorizo, and chicken thighs. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Add 3 cups of chicken broth to the paella and let it cook for about 12 minutes.
- Then add an additional chicken broth, about another 1/2 cup if needed and let it continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Let the rice cook and gently stir.
- Place the paella in the oven to finish off cooking- for about 7 minutes.
- Carefully remove the pan from the oven when done and arrange the prawns and clams on top. Set it aside for 15 minutes, so that the rice can continue to cook.
- Add the lemon wedges and fresh chopped parsley.
Making this? I would love to see! Tag me on Instagram @whensaltyandsweetunite and #whensaltyandsweetunite