Foolproof Chicken and Seafood Paella
What is the best way to honor Hispanic Heritage Month? 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!
During a recent weekend stay at a place called Vashon Island, we had the most cutest Air BNB. I’m talking the decor was to the max with horses outback. Beautiful hiking grounds. The beach was right there! We had to be aware of loose chickens. All of this sat on 40 acres along with some other properties, an air streamer and more horses.
We had a kitchen available to cook in but according to all the reviews I had read about Vashon Island, they all said go check out the food scene! So naturally we did exactly that…and OMG we were not disappointed!
More on Vashon
Besides the Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes and Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Bread I was eating, we did a little shopping. Vashon defines “shop local”. I didn’t see not one Starbucks on the island! Impressive!
We found this cute home goods store called Giraffe. Now not only is it a food bloggers paradise with beautiful ceramics and linens but they also have salt blends and spices. One of the spices I picked up was a Paella spice blend from a company called Rumi.
Creating Foolproof Chicken and Seafood Paella
Paella is known for one of it’s main ingredients: Saffron. While people use Saffron 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.
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 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!
Here’s a quick tip
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.
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 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!
Looking for more dishes packed with flavor? Be sure to check out my Simple Greek Yogurt Chicken and my Beef Bulgogi Bowls .
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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
- 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
- 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. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- 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.