About Seafood Paella

Listen, I know what you're gonna say and I don't want to hear it. I don't care if this recipe is nothing like the paella you had that summer you backpacked through Spain, or how this recipe is a complete disgrace to the word paella, or how Jose Andres will probably pack up his restaurants and move out of the city as soon as he finds out that I'm cooking this recipe so close to Jaleo. If you want to go out and spend the money on a paella pan and a fire pit in your backyard so's you can be all snooty and traditional about it, then fine, but me? I live in a one-bedroom apartment and I don't have all day and sometimes I just want a down-and-dirty seafood and rice recipe and this one happens to be really, really good. So if you're offended by that I suggest you move along to some other webpage. I suggest pr0n.

If you are still here, hi there! You're my favorite, did you know that? And it might interest you to know that I adapted this particular recipe from this one over here, and after several tweaks and twanks (I don't know) I think my version is ready for prime time. I have a big ol' 13-inch Lodge cast iron pan that works perfectly for this, and even gets the bottom all crusty and delicious, but if you don't have a big ol' 13-inch Lodge cast iron pan then maybe that 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish thing will work? I don't know. Try it and report back.

Here's the shopping list for a family of four, or two with plenty of leftovers (and I mean PLENTY; you should see my fridge right now), or a double date perhaps:
  • 2 links of chorizo, casings removed
  • 2 chicken thighs, cut in half to make 4 pieces
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (or pressed through that garlic press I keep telling you to buy)
  • 1 cup of arborio rice (I know, I know, but it's what I have, and it works gosh darn it)
  • 1 jar roasted pimientos, diced, with the juice (pimientos are the same as red peppers, so if you can't find the one the other is fine)

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • Assorted seafood
Okay, let us talk about this one for a second. What kind of seafood should you use? I don't know; whatever you want. Here I have sea scallops, peeled and de-veined shrimp, king crab legs, and squid.

But you could also throw in some clams or mussels or lobster or whatever looks good to you.

How much seafood do you need? I don't know that either. Just think about your four big portions of paella and how many of each seafoods you want in each portion. So like, if you want two scallops then you need 2 x 4 = 8 scallops. And you thought you'd never need math.
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Lots of chopped parsley
  • Lemon wedges
Preheat your oven to 450F. Put Dr. Horrible in the DVD player and hit play.

Generously season all sides of your chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and paprika, and let that sit while you cook up the chorizo. And sing along to Dr. Horrible.

And how do you cook up the chorizo? Well, you heat up your pan over medium-high heat, and then you throw the chorizo in the heated pan. (How do you sing along to Dr. Horrible? Loudly, and with feeling.) As the chorizo cooks, make sure you use a wooden spoon to break it up into little pebble-sized pieces. When it looks browned, push the meat pebbles all around the edge of the pan to make some room in the middle, and add your chicken thighs skin-side down.

Brown the chicken on all sides, which should take about 5-6 minutes per side. Then remove your meat-stuff to a plate.

Throw your onion into the pan and saute those until they're beginning to brown and turn translucent. Then add your minced garlic and cook that down a minute more, until the whole mess looks like this:

If you happen to have a bottle of sherry handy (which of course I do) add a glug or two and scrape up and brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. If you don't, then no big whoop, it's not like I told you you'd need it or anything and it's not important enough for me to make you go out and buy an entire bottle of sherry for just a glug or two.

Now stir in your rice, roasted pimientos with juice, and the saffron.

Add the clam juice, chicken stock, and chorizo, give everything another stir, and bring that to a simmer. Then turn off the heat and arrange your chicken pieces in the pan so that they're all nestled in amongst (heh) the rice and veggies and whatnot.

Cover your pan with foil and stick it in the oven. After about 10 minutes, pull out the pan, remove the foil, take a nice handful of your chopped parsley (making sure you save some for later) and throw it in. Give everything another stir (you'll notice that the rice is still quite moist) and rearrange your chicken, please.

Re-cover the pan with foil and put it back into the oven for another 20 minutes. Then, pull it out AGAIN, and remove the foil AGAIN, but don't give anything another stir! Instead, nestle all of your seafood pieces into the rice, and sprinkle your peas all about the pan. Be as artistic as you feel necessary.

Re-re-cover the pan with foil and re-put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the seafood is just cooked through.

Pull out the pan, for good this time, and remove the foil. Let it sit for 10 more minutes to let it finish doing its thang, sprinkle the top with your remaining parsley, and serve with your lemon wedges.

And think fondly of fake Spain.


  1. 1/2 of what of frozen peas?

  2. This looks delicious. I love the addition of Dr. Horrible, too.

  3. jennie - you can't skip the dr. horrible. it's really the key ingredient.

    mg! - you have to come over for dinner next time i make this. and then take home a whole plate of leftovers. (and we'll have drinks! and ice cream! and it'll be awesome!)

  4. I'll be your favorite! I'm always here!

  5. Um, I'm afeared of squid.

    There. I said it. I grew up in the land-locked Denver area, and while I've since developed a taste for lots of seafood, I just can't quite handle the notion of squid or octopus or oysters.

    But you said I could use whatever seafood I want, so I just won't use those and all is well, yes? Because like everything else you make here, this looks delicious!

  6. I prefer the taste of Colossal Squid, but I don't have a large enough pan.

    This looks SO tasty.

    Hello, Kat.

  7. This reminds me of one of my favorite Posh Nosh episodes:


    You're welcome.

  8. h!a! - of course you're my favorite, silly!

    shari - but squid and octopus and oysters are my favorite!

    scott - i've always wondered whether colossal squid tasts the same as regular old squid.

    sir - the comments are simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. and thus ends the productive portion of my work day.

  9. I'm too lazy to make this. Move to Canada and cook for me. Dammit.