Seafood Paella

On our recent trip to the Dominican Republic, several of the restaurant buffets at our resort served up massive 4 foot wide pans overflowing with seafood paella. The paellas were beautiful to look it, but the flavors were a little underwhelming and the seafood was a bit overdone. I wanted to recreate a paella dish when we returned home and use our paella pan that rarely gets used. Ours is more modest 12 inch pan and this recipe worked beautifully in our pan.

Saffron tends to be a pretty pricey ingredient, but I’ve found jars of saffron for around $5 at Trader Joe’s. I used the entire contents of the tiny jar in this paella and it was worth it!

Since I made this for guests, I was nervous about pulling it all together while they were here, since you can’t really do it in advance. However, everything can be cut and prepped ahead of time and then you can add the ingredients along the way, and it makes for an impressive build up to moving the paella pan to the table when its ready. It helps to have some nibbles and cocktails for your guests (and yourself!) while they enjoy the show.


Seafood Paella

Serves 8 as a main dish

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound Spanish chorizo sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1/2 pound squid bodies and tentacles, bodies sliced in to rings and tentacles chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 pint crushed tomatoes or 1-14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 pound mussels
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock, clam juice and saffron threads to a gentle simmer, then turn the heat to low.

Soak the mussels in a bowl with clean water for about 20 minutes to help filter out any sandy residue. Drain and set aside.

Add the oil to a 12-inch paella pan or a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chorizo and squid and sauté until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat and squid to a bowl and set aside.

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Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and beginning to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.

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Return the chorizo and squid to the pan and add the tomatoes, salt and smoked paprika, stirring to evenly distribute the tomatoes. Add about 1 cup of the hot stock and simmer for about 2 minutes.

Add the rice to the paella pan, stir to incorporate.

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Then add the peas and all but 1⁄2 cup of the remaining stock. Stir everything together thoroughly.

Arrange the mussels and shrimp on top of the rice mixture. Reduce the heat to a simmer, so that the rice mixture is slightly bubbling. After about 15 minutes, turn each of the shrimp over to ensure even cooking. Let the rice go for another 5-7 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked on the top of the dish. Remove and discard any mussels that do not open. If the rice is not yet fully cooked through, gently nudge the rice around a bit to ensure even cooking. If all the liquid is absorbed and the rice isn’t fully cooked, add the remaining warm stock as needed, and let simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let stand for about 5-10 minutes for the rice to absorb any remaining juices. Serve warm.

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