Paella, a specialty of Spain’s Valencia region, takes its name from the shallow, two-handled pan in which the dish is usually cooked and served, but you can easily prepare the perfect paella using a large, shallow sauté pan from your cookware collection. Saffron, the dried stigmas of a small purple crocus, is the world’s most expensive spice by weight, but a single pinch is enough to impart its distinctive flavor throughout and there really is no other substitute for the color and flavor it brings to the paella.
The result is a delicious medley of spicy chorizo, succulent chicken and shrimp and tender steamed mussels and clams, mixed with fragrant saffron rice…and the smoky flavor that the grill imparts takes the dish over the top! A garnish of chopped Paquillo peppers (my favorite sweet Spanish pepper) adds brilliant color and flavor to this traditional Spanish dish.
Yields: 6 to 8
4 tablespoons Spanish olive oil
1 pound chorizo, casing removed and sliced on an angle
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups Paella rice or long grain white rice
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth or stock
2 pounds chicken tenders
salt, pepper & Spanish smoked paprika, to taste
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 mussels, scrubbed and bearded
32 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 cup frozen peas
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup piquillo peppers, cut into strips
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat your Twin Eagles Grill to medium-high heat.
Place a paella pan or very large sauté pan on the grill and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once hot, add the chorizo and sauté until browned on all side. Add the onions and bell pepper and sauté 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and rice and sauté for 3 minutes more, stirring constantly. Add the saffron threads, bay leaf and broth and bring the liquid to a boil.
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and the smoked paprika and arrange the chicken tenders around the perimeter of the pan. Scatter the shrimp over the rice and arrange the mussels and clams in a single layer in the center of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and adjust the heat on the grill to allow the pan to simmer.
After 15 minutes of cooking scatter the peas and the lemon zest over the paella. Cover the pan again and cook 5 minutes longer or until the liquid is all absorbed, the shellfish has opened and the rice begins to sizzle on the bottom of the pan.
To serve, remove any unopened mussels or clams and the bay leaf and discard them. Garnish the paella with the piquillo peppers and parsley. Serve with wedges of lemon and grilled bread.
Jamie Gwen is a CIA Grad, Celebrity Chef, Certified Sommelier, Lifestyle Expert and four-time Cookbook Author who can be seen stirring up something delicious on television, on the radio and in print from coast-to-coast. She brings the best to radio with her weekly Syndicated Radio Show heard every Sunday on Radio Stations across the country and in SoCal on Talk Radio 790 KABC. Jamie can be seen on KTLA Channel 5, on HSN and on national television news shows sharing her seasonal lifestyle approach and her passion for food. Her recipes are featured on chefjamie.com and on Microsoft’s worldwide Food & Drink App. Jamie’s most recent cookbook, Co-Authored by Lana Sills and entitled “Good Food For Good Times 2”, is now available as an eBook and has been featured on The Talk, Emeril Live and Martha Stewart.