Paella is a classic Spanish dish that features a flavorful combination of saffron-infused rice, various proteins, vegetables, and spices. Here’s a traditional recipe for a delicious seafood paella:
- 1 1/2 cups Spanish paella rice (such as Bomba or Calasparra rice)
- 4 cups chicken or seafood broth
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound mixed seafood (such as shrimp, mussels, clams, and calamari), cleaned and peeled
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
1. Prepare the Broth: a. Heat the chicken or seafood broth in a saucepan. Add the saffron threads to the warm broth, allowing it to steep and infuse the liquid with its color and flavor.
2. Preheat the Paella Pan: a. Use a large paella pan or a wide, shallow skillet. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it becomes translucent, about 2-3 minutes. b. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté for another minute until fragrant.
3. Cook the Vegetables: a. Add the sliced bell peppers to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften. b. Stir in the smoked paprika, ground turmeric, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to coat the vegetables with the spices.
4. Add the Rice: a. Sprinkle the rice over the vegetables in an even layer. Gently stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices.
5. Add the Saffron Broth: a. Pour the saffron-infused broth evenly over the rice. Do not stir the rice after this point; paella should have a slightly crispy layer on the bottom known as “socarrat.”
6. Arrange the Seafood: a. Arrange the mixed seafood, such as shrimp, mussels, clams, and calamari, on top of the rice. Press them down slightly into the rice.
7. Cook and Simmer: a. Reduce the heat to low and let the paella simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and has absorbed the liquid. Rotate the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking.
8. Add Peas and Garnish: a. Sprinkle the frozen peas over the paella during the last 5 minutes of cooking, allowing them to cook through.
9. Rest and Serve: a. Remove the paella from the heat and let it rest, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for about 5 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the socarrat to develop.
10. Garnish and Serve: a. Garnish the paella with freshly chopped parsley and serve hot, accompanied by lemon wedges for squeezing over the top.