A Sip Before Dying - Emmy's Spanish Style Paella Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika

2 teaspoons oregano

salt and pepper to taste

1 frying chicken, cut into pieces (roughly 3 lbs.)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced

1 onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves of crushed garlic

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish

1 (15 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes, drained

4 cups short grain Spanish rice

6 cups water, warm

generous pinch of saffron threads

8 mussels, scrubbed

1/2 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup frozen peas

lemon wedges, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the paprika, oregano, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper, and coat the chicken in the mixture. Then marinate the chicken in the refrigerator. (This can be done up to a day ahead.)

Heat the olive oil in a large pan or paella pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the chorizo until browned, then remove and set aside. Heat the shrimp for roughly 2 minutes, until pink, and set aside. Cook the chicken, skin-side down, until browned on all sides. While cooking, season with more salt and pepper. When browned, remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, prepare the sofrito. Sauté the onions, red pepper, and parsley until onions begin to get soft, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until the mixture begins to caramelize and thicken a bit. Then add in the rice, coating all of the grains in the tomato mixture. Add in water, chicken, sausage, and saffron, and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently so the rice cooks evenly. Add mussels to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook about 5 minutes or until the shells open. Nestle the shrimp into the rice mixture and add the frozen peas. Cook about 5–10 minutes or until shrimp are done and rice is cooked.

When the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for just a few seconds until you can smell the rice toasting (but not burning) at the bottom of the pan. This is called the socarrat.

Remove from heat and garnish with lemon wedges and additional parsley.

While Emmy was cooking this in bulk for her Spanish event, this recipe serves 8.


If you want a simpler version to make at home, you can use boneless, skinless chicken breast and purchase your shrimp already peeled and deveined. Clams can be substituted for mussels—you can even use canned ones. You can cook the chorizo, chicken (cut into bit-sized pieces), and shrimp all in the same pan together—adding the chicken first, then chorizo, and finally shrimp, which takes the least time to cook. Use Minute Rice to cut down on cooking time!

Wine Pairings

Best served paired with chilled, fruity wines, like a rosé or Sauvignon Blanc, or a chilled sangria like the one Emmy prepared. Some of Emmy's other suggestions: Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Rosé, Chateau d'Esclans Côtes de Provence Whispering Angel Rosé, Sterling Sauvignon Blanc Napa.

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