Our Stories

The Spanish Table’s Paella


Strawberry Village, Mill Valley, CA

Paella is a versatile dish that originated in Valencia with chicken, rabbit, snails and beans. Today, it is often made with seafood, chicken and vegetables. You can use any recipe that suits your taste. The ingredients depend on local customs and availability. You can be creative and use anything from fresh produce to leftovers to make your own paella.

The name comes from the pan it is cooked in, a paellera, which is also used for other rice and pasta dishes such as arros negre, as well as the Spanish pasta dish fideuá. Valencians say “no” to chorizo in Paella, but we think it adds flavor.

This is only one recipe. Use your imagination and the ingredients at hand—varying the ingredients can make paella both a very special treat and an everyday dish.


All portions below are per person; you must multiply by the number of people served.

  • 1/2 cup uncooked Valencian rice or 1/3 cup if using Bomba rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Splash of white wine or dry sherry
  • 5 threads saffron
  • 4 tablespoons, or more, olive oil, to cover bottom of pan
  • 1 piece of chicken such as a thigh
  • 1/2 to 1 chorizo, such as Doña Juana Bilbao or Palacios chorizo
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika (Pimentón de La Vera Dulce)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/8 cup grated tomato or same amount of Ferrer Sofrito or Tomate Frito
  • 2 shrimp or prawns
  • 2-4 small clams and/or mussels
  • Piquillo peppers (canned) cut in strips

Heat stock in a separate stockpot. Crush saffron and add it to the stock.


Heat paella pan over medium heat, add olive oil and fry chicken until it begins to brown.

Next, add garlic and onions and sauté until translucent. Add chorizo and cook until heated. Add the rice, stirring until well coated with oil. Add the paprika and grated tomato (cut tomato in half, grate and discard the skin) or Sofrito. Stir while cooking for a few minutes. Add the splash of wine and the hot stock. Bring to a boil while scraping the bottom of pan.

Now the rice should be level and you will not need to stir from this point on. Adjust the heat to maintain a nice simmer. When the rice has absorbed a good amount of liquid but still looks soupy, add the mussels or clams.

Once the rice is cooked, add the shrimp or prawns tucking them down into the rice, then the Piquillo peppers, artichoke hearts, green beans, asparagus and/or peas. During this time, the rice should be in the process of caramelizing on the bottom of the pan or creating what is called the socarrat. It will make a faint crackling sound and smell toasty sweet, but not burnt.

Set aside to “rest” for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

Modification for OVEN: You can also use an oven if you find that your pan is too large to cook on the stove top.

Begin your recipe on the stove top. After bringing the rice and liquid up to a boil, turn down to a simmer and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Carefully move your paella pan into a pre-heated (350º) oven. After about 12 minutes in the oven, return the pan to the stove top to create the caramelized layer of rice on the bottom of the pan.

Modification for BBQ PAELLA: Cooking paella on a BBQ is easy because the cooking sequence follows the natural cycle of the fire. Once you have established a good, hot bed of coals, you brown the chicken and any other meats in olive oil, then add chopped onions and sauté gently. The fire only needs to remain hot enough to bring the liquid to a boil when you add the rice. Once it has reached boiling, the rice can slowly simmer, absorbing the juices from the other ingredients, along with the color, flavor and the aroma of the saffron. If you throw sprigs of herbs or grapevines on the coals, their smoke will flavor the clams and mussels. The fire can die down slowly while the rice cooks.

Of course, Paelleras can also be used over an open fire or on a counter-top grill.

Buen provecho!

Strawberry Village

Visit Us Online