Prep work is key!

I am so excited for our trip to Spain in May! I am especially looking forward to connecting to my heritage, through the amazing food. As a result, I’ve been experimenting with some of the flavors that I typically associate with Spain. One of my favorite dishes is paella. Paella is a Valencian rice dish with ancient roots that originated in its modern form in the mid-nineteenth century on the east coast of Spain. The dish is widely regarded as Spain’s national dish.

The finished product!
The finished product!

The three most popular forms of paella are Valencian paella (white rice, green vegetables, chicken and rabbit, white beans and seasoning such as saffron, rosemary and occasionally lemon), seafood paella (replaces meats with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables) and mixed paella (freestyle combination of land animals, seafood, vegetables and sometimes beans). There are MANY variations, with optional ingredients including artichoke, pepper and chicken liver.

Of course, I opted to make a freestyle paella. The main components being seafood (large shrimp, mussels and calamari) and Spanish style chorizo. It’s actually very easy to make, but there are many steps to follow, so I have included a pictures to help illustrate.

The most important suggestion I can make is to prep all ingredients ahead of time! Chop, measure and organize. This will ensure a seamless process and also provide the best chance for perfect paella:))


Serves 6
A delicious recipe for this Valencian specialty!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
  1. 1 Onion, Chopped
  2. 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  3. 1 Serrano Chili, Minced
  4. 1 Handful of Parsley, Chopped
  5. ¼-1/2 Cup EVOO
  6. 1-2 Lemons, Juiced
  7. 1 Bell Pepper, Chopped
  8. ½ tsp Saffron Threads
  9. 3 tsp Smoked Paprika
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Pepper to taste
  12. ½ Cup of Dry Sherry
  13. 6 Cups of Chicken Stock
  14. 1 Pound of Spanish Chorizo
  15. 3 Cups Short Grain Rice
  16. ½ Pound Large Shrimp
  17. ½ Pound of Calamari or White Fish of your choice, Chopped
  18. 6-10 Mussels, Scrubbed and Cleaned
  1. Gather, clean prep and chop all ingredients!! Remember that a crust that forms at the bottom of the pan is ideal....a burnt crust is a no-no! Practice makes perfect:)
  2. Make the sofrito!
  3. The sofrito is one of the most important components to the flavor base of your paella!
  4. To make, place serrano chili, parsley, EVOO, the lemon juice and salt to taste in food processor and blend until all ingredients are finely minced. Place to the side.
  5. Heat 4 TBS of EVOO in paella pan (or large, shallow, saute pan).
  6. Add chopped chorizo and cook until browned (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add onions and bell pepper and saute until soft (about 5 minutes).
  8. Add garlic and paprika and saute for about 1 minute.
  9. Add sherry and simmer, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
  10. Add rice and stir until translucent.
  11. Stir in broth, saffron and a hefty sprinkle of salt.
  12. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  13. Add the sofrito, stirring it in well.
  14. Cook the seafood in the rice, starting with nestling the mussels into the rice, in the center of the pan. (It should take about 15 minutes for the mussels to open up and start to cook).
  15. Once the mussels have opened up, place the rest of the seafood into the rice, as well.
  16. Cover the pan, tightly with foil and continue to simmer until the rice is al dente (about 10 minutes).
  17. Discard any mussels that have opened.
  18. Remove from heat and allow the rice to continue steaming for 10 minutes.
  19. Serve with lemon slices and enjoy with a glass of vino tinto!
Relish it

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