Smokey Shrimp & Chicken Paella Recipe

So according to my daughter, this was a “nice and tasty rice dish, but it wasn’t a true paella”. That’s because she has been blessed with authentic Valencian paellas when traveling through Spain visiting friends and family.  

So, even though this might be less-than authentic Spanish paella, it is still a great tasting dish for a cold winter day and a great way to use up supplies in your fridge and pantry.

Marinated Chicken: I had precooked the chicken breasts that I used in the paella. I made a marinade of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, rosemary, salt and pepper.  I baked the chicken in the sauce until done. 

Smokey Chicken and Shrimp Paella
(Note that I used chunky salsa in the one photographed above.  Most of the paellas made by our friends and family in Spain don’t usually use tomato.  When I made this particular paella dish, I was using up supplies I had in the fridge!)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of Spanish smoked paprika (I used a delicious one from Penzeys)
Pinch of saffron threads (if you have them)
1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cups unsalted chicken bone broth (I used an organic one from Pacific Foods)
16 oz chopped tomatoes or chunky salsa (I used freshly made chunky salsa from Whole Foods)
1.5 cups of paella rice (Calasparra, Bomba, La Marjal, Arborio, or any other very absorbent , short-grain rice if you can’t find paella rice. I used La Marjal.)
Diced chicken breast (1-2 chicken breasts, or as much as desired)
12-15 large shrimp (or quantity as desired)
1/2 cup of peas (frozen or fresh) - mostly for color.
Parsley (or cilantro), lemon wedges (for garnish).

Paella pan (I used a 34cm San Ignacio Pan purchased in Spain. The bottom fit our 10” burner on our electric stovetop well and the induction coils on the bottom distributed the heat nicely so that all the rice cooked evenly.)

You will also need a lid for the pan, or aluminum foil.

Makes 6-8 generous servings. 

For the paella, drizzle the olive oil in the pan. Heat on medium. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic to the hot oil and sauté until soft. Add the paprika, saffron, oregano, salt  and red pepper flakes. Stir together to distribute the spices.

Add the unsalted chicken broth and chunky salsa (or chopped tomatoes) to the pan.  Stir the broth to distribute the flavors.  Turn up the heat until the broth boils. 

Add the paella rice to the broth.  Stir gently to evenly distribute the rice around the pan.  

Turn the heat down to low boil. Dice the chicken breast and distribute it evenly around the paella rice and broth. Gently lay the large shrimp in a pretty pattern around the pan. Do not stir the paella again. Sprinkle with a handful of peas.

Let the rice cook in the broth at a low boil/simmer until the broth is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked (about 25 minutes). Keep the pan covered with either the paella pan lid or aluminum foil. Monitor the cooking of the paella and adjust the heat to prevent it from burning. The paella is done when the broth is absorbed into the cooked rice and the grains of rice are full and tender.

Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
Serve warm with a slice of lemon and a dollop of alioli (Spanish Garlic Mayonnaise). You can purchase commercially-made alioli at the “fancier food markets” or make your own with just garlic and olive oil.

To make the Alioli you’ll want an immersion blender and garlic press.

Alioli :
3-4 cloves of garlic minced. (Or more if you prefer a stronger garlic flavor)
About 1 cup of olive oil. The exact amount will depend on how well the garlic mayonnaise binds and takes shape after it begins to emulsify.
Pinch of salt, if desired.

Use an immersion blender as this helps with the emulsification process. Put the minced garlic in the bottom of the cup that came with your blender ( or a tall cup that fits the blender). Blend the minced garlic with the pinch of salt to create a paste. Add a drop or two of olive oil to start the emulsification. Keep blending with the immersion blender , slowly moving the blender back and forth, side to side, as you add the olive oil drop by drop to the garlic mixture.  As the two ingredients emulsify, a pretty white whipped garlic sauce will emerge. Do not add the oil too quickly or you will not create the emulsion which is critical to get the right texture of the sauce. You must add the olive oil drop by drop to build the “mayonnaise-like” fluffy consistency of the alioli and create the emulsion. Once the emulsification takes place, you can add the oil in a very thin stream and continue to blend until you reach a nice thick, whipped texture.

This Alioli is best used within 24 hrs.  It’s great with paella, French fries, roasted potatoes, a dip for calamari or other fish. Yum!


Other paellas we’ve enjoyed......

One of the seafood Paella’s from Abuela in the Valencian region of Spain. So delicious. I’m pretty sure this one had a variety of fish, calamari, shrimp and baby clams. 

A paella we shared with friends in Spain. 
(If I remember correctly, this one was ordered from a local paella restaurant and carried out “to go”.)

Another delicious paella made by friends of ours in the Valencian region.


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