You don’t need a lot of time or a special pan to make delicious Spanish Paella.
I always thought of paella as an exotic, difficult-to-make dish because my mother-in-law was my role model. She made paella that was so impressive I was in awe. She had the special special pan for paella and it would come out of the oven bursting with chicken, lobster, shrimp, sausage, and mussels. I have her recipe, and I promise to share it at some point in the future.
For now, life feels pretty hectic, so I am happy to announce that paella doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, and you don’t need a special pan.
SPANISH PAELLA FUN FACTS
- In Spain, where paella originated, it is a common weeknight dinner.
- Paella isn’t defined by the seafood and meats it contains. In fact when it was created in the mid nineteenth century – by workers in the fields of Valencia, Spain – it contained whatever local ingredients were available – usually snails and rabbit.
- Saffron-infused short-grain rice and aromatic vegetables are what make paella paella. It’s up to the chef to decide which types of meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables to include.
- Paella was originally cooked over an open fire, imparting a nice smokiness to the dish. Smoked chorizo sausage and woody, smoky spices like paprika and rosemary make up for the lack of a wood fire.
HOW TO MAKE EASY SPANISH PAELLA
For this easy paella recipe I chose readily available ingredients: Chicken, shrimp, sausage, onions and red peppers.
- Everything is cooked in one pan, in a few steps.
- First brown the sausages, then the chicken. Set them aside on a plate.
- Sauté onions for a few minutes, to soften. Add garlic and rosemary, then add raw rice, spices, tomatoes and broth. Mix gently to combine.
- Arrange chicken strips and sausages evenly around the pan and pop the pan in the oven for eight minutes.
- Add the shrimp and red pepper strips and return the pan to the oven for an additional ten minutes.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley
I tested this recipe with bone-in thighs and with boneless skinless breasts. I have a slight preference for thighs. My kids prefer the boneless breasts.
It’s a matter of personal taste, so I decided to give you both options in the recipe directions.
I love this easy Spanish Paella for a weeknight dinner. It all happens in one big pot. It can, and should, be eaten family style.
The pot comes out of the oven looking really good!
All you need to do is set it in the middle of the table on a trivet with a large serving spoon, and let everyone dig in.
If you like this type of tasty one-pan chicken and rice dinner, don’t miss out on these other delicious Panning The Globe recipes: Indian Chicken Biryani and Jollof Rice with Chicken and Tachin Joojeh: Persian Layered Chicken and Rice.
Here’s the recipe for Easy Spanish Paella. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave your rating and remarks in the comments. I’d love to know what you think.Print
Easy Spanish Paella
Spanish one-dish dinner with rice, chicken, shrimp and sausage
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Spanish
- Olive oil
- 6–8 ounces smoked chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch discs.
- 1 1/2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) sliced crosswise into 2-inch wide strips. or 6 chicken thighs with bones, skin removed.
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon finely-chopped fresh rosemary
- Pinch of saffron
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups aborio rice, rinsed of excess starch
- 3 cups low-salt chicken broth (I like Swanson’s)
- 12–14 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1–2 roasted red peppers from a jar, sliced into strips or sliced pimientos from a jar.
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, optional garnish
- Preheat oven to 400ºF
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large oven-proof skillet (at least 12″) Cook sausage, stirring, over high heat, until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Season chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and sprinkles of black pepper, to taste. Add 1 additional tablespoon olive oil to skillet. Add chicken and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes total. Remove to the plate with the sausages and set aside. (for thighs, season as above and brown 4 minutes per side)
- Lower heat to medium-low, add onions, and cook, stirring, until the onion softens, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice, Saffron (rubbing it between your fingers so it breaks up as it falls into the pan), paprika, tomatoes, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir everything just to combine. Pour broth over mixture. Add chicken strips and sausages evenly around the pan, pushing them down into the rice so just their tops are showing through. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for 8 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove pan from the oven. Decorate the top with strips of red pepper and raw shrimp. Sprinkle shrimp lightly with salt and smoky paprika. Return the skillet to the oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes longer, until shrimp and chicken are cooked through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley, if you like. Serve hot.
[Published May 2013. Updated February 2019 with added nutritional information and tweaks to the written post]