With its origins in the Andalusian peninsula, paella is the epitome of Spanish comfort food. This one skillet meal has a long ingredient list but is the perfect dish after a long day on the trail. The key to creating perfect paella is a good socarrat which is the crispy, caramelized rice at the bottom of the pan that is loaded with flavor and texture.
Prepare and measure out as many ingredients at home ahead of time as possible.
This recipe was provided by Lancaster Cast Iron.
Yield About 4 servings
Prep Time/ Cook Time 20 min/ 60 min
No. 8 Lancaster Cast Iron Skillet (10.5” cast iron skillet), long handled tongs, aluminum foil, large bowl
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 bone-in chicken thighs w/ skin halved
2 links uncooked Spanish chorizo chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped in large pieces
3 ounces fresh green beans (about 16 green beans)
1 small yellow onion, diced in large pieces
1/8 cup diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 cup Paella rice
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried saffron
4 large shrimp (optional)
6 fresh mussels (optional)
Fresh parsley leaves
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1. In a No. 8 skillet over hot coals/live fire, add olive oil and kosher salt and bring up to temperature - high heat is important.
2. Brown the chicken thighs skin side down. As the skin begins to turn a golden brown color, turn the thighs and add the Spanish chorizo. After browning, remove meat to a separate bowl.
3. Without removing olive oil and the accumulated chicken fat, add the bell pepper. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally and add green beans. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before adding onions. After the onions begin to become translucent, stir in garlic followed by tomatoes. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before adding the chicken and chorizo back into the pan along with any accumulated juices. Stir in smoked paprika and paella rice making sure to evenly spread rice throughout the dish. Pour chicken stock into the skillet without stirring and spread crushed saffron over the stock.
4. With the pan still over hot coals/live fire, cook the paella for about 25 minutes. Never stir the Paella after the rice has begun to boil. At this point, the liquid should have receded below the rice. Add the shrimp and mussels (optional) to the dish being sure to gently sink the seafood down into the paella. Add the fresh parsley leaves and rosemary sprigs and cover lightly with a piece of foil and decrease heat to low for an additional 5 minutes.
5. Remove the foil and check to be sure that the seafood has finished cooking and that the rice has a dark hue against the wall of the skillet. There should be very little liquid still bubbling, the mussels should have opened up and the shrimp should have a nice pink hue. Allow the paella to rest for an additional 5 minutes. The paella should have a crispy crusty bottom as a result of the rice caramelizing due to a lack of stirring - the socarrat.
6. Set the rosemary aside and serve with a slice of fresh lemon. Be sure to include parts of the top, center and the socarrat with each serving.