How To Cook Classic Spanish Paella: A Step-by-step Guide
A handed down recipe for a classic seafood Paella, one of the most popular dishes to come out of Spain! Complete with the toasty, crispy, golden crust on the bottom (Soccarat) and amazing traditional flavours, our authentic recipe is versatile so you can easily alter the recipe to suit your own tastes! Feel like a qualified chef when you’re done.
This paella recipe is being handed down for you from my mother, one of the best Paella cooks I know. There are MANY different types and styles of Paella and each region in Spain has their own way of making it. This one is our favourite seafood paella recipe complete with chicken pieces, fire roasted peppers and beautiful flavours infused into the rice while it cooks!
Don’t be afraid to cook Paella at home. You don’t need any fancy equipment or Paella pan to make it! Just use what you have in your kitchen!
Seafood you need for our paella recipe
- Calamari rings
- Shrimp — with or without shells
Tips to make paella at home
- The seafood suggestions in the recipe are optional. Don’t like Mussels? Don’t add them. Love clams? Add them instead! Don’t like shrimp? Replace with something else. Adapt it to your own taste and preference. It’s an extremely forgiving recipe.
- If you don’t like seafood, you can replace it with 2 large chicken thigh fillets, or more depending on how many people you are serving.
- Most or all of the chicken can be replaced with pork if you prefer.
- Use fresh vine ripened tomatoes for the BEST flavour.
- We make our own fire roasted peppers by placing them on direct flame over a gas cooker or stove top, until they char and the skin begins to crease and peel. If you’re not comfortable doing this, store-bought is fine to use.
What kind of rice do you use to make paella?
We love using medium grain or jasmine rice. You can also use Spanish rice if you can find it. The short, round grains are perfect for Paella and absorb liquid really well, which makes it the ideal rice for Paella. Do not use Arborio rice. You want the end result to yield separate grains when done, not a creamy texture like risotto.
CLASSIC SPANISH PAELLA
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 6 large cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper (capsicum), diced into small pieces
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 large tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (sauv blanc, pinot gris) -- optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces (250 g) calamari rings
- 3 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth or stock (or homemade fish stock)
- 2 cups medium grain or jasmine rice
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon saffron powder (or saffron threads)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoked)
- 1/2 teaspoon each garlic and onion powders
- 21 ounces (600 g) shrimp
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf chopped parsley
- Fire roasted bell peppers (capsicum) strips
10-12 mussels scraped and cleaned properly
- Heat oil in a large sized non-stick pan or well seasoned skillet (or a paella pan if you have one), over medium heat. Fry onion, garlic and capsicum together; cook until onion is transparent (about 3 minutes).
- Sauté chicken until golden on all sides. Add in the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes until they release liquid and the tomatoes begin to create a sauce.
- Add the wine, mussels and calamari rings. Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes; allow the wine to evaporate to half the quantity, then pour in the stock (or broth), rice, peas and saffron. Mix all ingredients until well combined.
- Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and cover to allow MOST of the liquid to absorb into the rice, while stirring occasionally to prevent rice from sticking and burning to the pan underneath. (Cook until the rice is ALMOST cooked through.)
- Add in the prawns, mixing them through the rice, and cover again to allow the prawns and rice to cook completely.
- Once cooked, sprinkle with the parsley. Place capsicum strips over the top of the paella for enhanced flavour to serve. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil over the top before serving.
Seafood: Fully shelled shrimp is ideal and traditional in paella, but we prefer peeled, tail on shrimp. If you don't like seafood, replace with 2 large chicken thigh fillets.Chicken: Substitute with pork if desired.Rice: Medium grain or jasmine rice yield the best results.Fire roasted peppers: Make your own by placing them on direct flame over a gas cooker or stove top until they char and the skin begins to crease and peel.