This paella recipe calls for making it 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. Cured Spanish chorizo is the sausage of choice for paella, but fresh chorizo or Portuguese 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 paella, 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 step 6.–The Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 15 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 6
- 1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 8 or 9 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (2 generous tablespoons)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each thigh trimmed of excess fat and halved crosswise
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut pole to pole into 1/2-inch-wide strips
- 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
- One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, minced, and drained again
- 2 cups Valencia or Arborio rice
- 3 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
- 1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Toss the shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon of the garlic in a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper; set aside.
- 2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the pepper strips and cook, stirring occasionally, until the skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pepper to a small plate and set aside.
- 3. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the now-empty Dutch oven; heat the oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer; cook, without moving the pieces, until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the pieces and brown on the second side, about 3 minutes longer; transfer the chicken to a medium bowl. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chorizo to the pot; cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and the fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to the bowl with the chicken and set aside.
- 4. Add enough oil to the fat in the Dutch oven to equal 2 tablespoons; heat over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes; stir in the remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes; cook until the mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until the grains are well coated with the tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, wine, saffron, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven; cook until the rice absorbs almost all of the liquid, about 15 minutes.
- 5. Remove the paella from the oven (close the oven door to retain heat). Uncover the paella; scatter the shrimp over the rice, insert the mussels hinged-side down into the rice (so they stand upright), arrange the bell pepper strips in a pinwheel pattern, and scatter the peas over the top. Cover and return to the oven; cook until the shrimp are opaque and the mussels have opened, 10 to 12 minutes.
- 6. Optional: If soccarat (see headnote) is desired, set the Dutch oven, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, rotating the pot 180 degrees after about 2 minutes for even browning.
- 7. Let the paella stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened and the bay leaf, if it can be easily removed. Sprinkle the paella with the parsley and serve, passing the lemon wedges separately.
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Paella Recipe © 2005 The Editors of Cook's Illustrated. Photo © 2005 Carl Tremblay. All rights reserved.