Recently, I taught and cooked for a writers retreat in Orlando, Florida.  Not only was I surrounded by some genius and inspiring authors, but there was an insane amount of fresh, local seafood at our neighborhoods whole foods.  I decided for our last evening, I would make my favorite Paella recipe (paired with sangria, of course). It turned out beautifully and was the perfect way to end a beautiful week on retreat. This is a great recipe to make if you are entertaining or trying to impress a date! 

If you don't have a Paella pan, use a huge stock pot. It works just as well! 


Seafood Paella


The Goods:

2 tbsp olive oil

4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless cut into 1 inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1½ cups arborio rice

1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 tbsp Sriracha

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp saffron

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined but keep tails on

1 lb clams, scrubbed and soaked

1 lb mussels, scrubbed and soaked

fresh parsley for garnish

1 lemon cut into lemon wedges

salt and pepper to taste


The Method:

In a large paella pan the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, then cook for about 5 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink.

Move the chicken and sausage to one side of the pan, then add the onion to the other half, season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes until the onion becomes translucent and soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the arborio and fire roasted tomatoes to the pan and stir well. Let the rice cook in the sauce from the tomatoes for about 5 minutes, you will notice it will start to brown on the bottom, which is what you want.

Add the broth, hot sauce, smoked paprika, saffron and season with salt and pepper if needed. Stir everything together and cover with a large lid. Cook for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. The rice won't be fully cooked yet.

Turn down the heat and stir the rice around a bit, you will notice the crust on the bottom of the pan, that's what you're looking for. Arrange the shrimp, mussels and clams over the rice, cover with a lid again and cook for another 10 minutes or until the mussels and clams open up.

Turn off the heat and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Serve immediately. 


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