Paella for a Crowd

Having a houseful of people for days at a time can be tough to figure out just what to feed everyone. I love quick and easy dishes that don’t require a lot of my time or attention. Once you get all the ingredients into the pan, it’s an easy go. You don’t even need a paella pan, a regular sauté pan or even a large electric skillet works beautifully.


You’ll want to use Spanish rice and Spanish saffron if you can for the best flavor but any short grain rice will do nicely such as an Italian Arborio which can be found in your local supermarket. Sauté a little shallot, preferred, or onion, garlic and infuse some chicken or vegetable stock with the saffron to start. Choose some protein to mix into the rice such as chicken, shrimp, scallops, mussels or chorizo and the dish comes together quickly. Follow the recipe or be creative and enjoy your company for the weekend! Mangia~

Chicken and Shellfish Paella

1 package chicken thighs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 shallot, minced or ½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
½ cup white wine
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
4 cups short grain Spanish rice
6 cups stock, warmed with a generous pinch of saffron thread
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1-2 pound mussels
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
Lemon wedges, for serving

Heat oil in a paella or sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to the chicken and brown skin-side down both sides. Remove from pan and reserve.

In the same pan, make a sofrito by sautéing the shallot, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Add the wine and cook until it reduces some, about 5 minutes, stir in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Add the crushed tomatoes and stock and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, clams, mussels and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. Let the paella simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 10 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan add the peas.

Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.

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