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Simple Paella under an hour

While I went to Valencia, Spain to learn from the masters and the birthplace of paella, a lot of the ingredients they used are not available in the US, or worst yet- not fresh to add into paella. Watch a clip of the traditional one here. So, I adopted the paella recipe to American tastes and produce availability.

For instance, in Spain, they don’t normally add dried chorizo, and a lot of times, they don’t add seafood with meats. But, I realize in America, most of us think that paella is combination of seafood, meat, and chorizo. So this recipe is for us, or anyone out there who shares the same sentiments. 
I can tell you it is delicious and many of my students were very pleased with the results. So, I encourage you to give it a try, and please add the fresh seasonal vegetables available in your area. That’s what makes Spanish and European food the best really- they are truly in touch in what’s in season. Unfortunately, convenience has taken over American culture and if you’re not careful your vegetable might taste bland or ruin your dish. Check what’s in season or just go to you’re farmer’s market. They need your support!
I bought sugar snap peas from Trader Joe’s the other day, perhaps by mistake, because I forgot that they were out of season and they were so stringy and fibrous, I felt like a squirrel eating them with my mom. It was the worst, and they weren’t even sweet either. So, learn from my mistake and please don’t buy sugar snap peas in the summer, buy them in the spring. 
In any case, go to your farmer’s market for this recipe and get the fresh produce of the season. If the veggies are having a glory day, you can make it all vegetarian. 

Paella Recipe

By Chef Joanna

Travel to Valencia, Spain with this classic recipe for Paella. This quintessential Spanish dish is usually made on Sundays over an open fire. It’s a family celebration and sangria is always present! Learn how to make this simple recipe infused with saffron, smoky chorizo, shrimp, and aromatic vegetables in your own home in a matter of hours. Wow your friends at your next dinner party with this beautiful family-style dish!

Ingredient list

(Makes Paella in small pan, for 4)

  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil 
  • Chorizo 4 oz. per person
  • Large shrimp 3 oz. per person
  • Boneless chicken thigh 3 oz per person
  • small pinch saffron 
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika  
  • ½ cup paella rice (or medium grain rice) per person
  • 2 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste  
  • 3-4 artichoke hearts 
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped 
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1-2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Frozen peas 3 oz 
  • 1.5 quarts Chicken broth  
  • 1 Rosemary sprig (optional)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

*For vegetarians/vegans:

  • Lima, green beans, and/or white beans 1 cup
  • Asparagus ½ bunch
  • Vegetable broth 1.5 quart 


  1. Dice and chop all vegetables (artichokes, carrots, garlic, red pepper).
  2. Slice chorizo and cube chicken thighs into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Preheat paella pan over medium high heat with three generous tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. Sear chicken on all sides until evenly brown, then set aside. Then, repeat with the chorizo, and set aside, or move to the outside of the pan.
  5. Add all the diced vegetables and cook until translucent and fragrant.
  6. Lower the heat, make a hole in the middle of the pan, and add the tomato paste and smoked paprika. Cook just for a few seconds until fragrant. (Be careful not to burn!) Add a little water or stock and bring to a boil and to prevent burning. (Stand back!)
  7. Add a big pinch of salt to the pan. Taste for salt.
  8. Add rice and stir it in with all other ingredients. Toss so each grain of rice is covered with oil and shiny. Re-incorporate chicken and chorizo to the pan.
  9. In a small bowl, bloom the saffron with a little heated broth or water.
  10. Then, add just enough stock, including the saffron stock, to the pan to cover the rice by ¼ inch.
  11. Bring the pan to a boil for 8 minutes, Then, lower heat and cook another 6-7 minutes, or until rice is soft, and liquid is absorbed. I like to cover it with foil at this point. 
  12. When 5 minutes before doneness, add the shrimp and the peas. Then, cook for the last 5 minutes. When all liquid is evaporated and rice is tender. Turn off heat and cover pan loosely with foil. Let rest for 5-10 minutes, then tear off foil and enjoy!! Best paired with sangria.

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