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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mixed Seafood Paella

Tonight was my first attempt at making Paella, which is a Spanish dish of saffron rice, combined with a variety of meats and shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, clams, chicken, ham or chorizo.  Other ingredients might include garlic, onions, peas, peppers, or tomatoes, and the combination can easily change to use the foods available or to suit your own preference.

The inspiration for this dish came from a bag of mixed seafood I found at Trader Joe's.  I wanted to do something special with this seafood, not just a simple stir fry, and since I've always wanted to try paella, this was my chance. 

The seafood mix included shrimp, calamari rings and baby scallops, and there were enough in the package for about four servings.  To bring this up to serve six people, we added some fresh seafood, a dozen each of clams, mussels and large Atlantic shrimp.  The results were amazing, and although I might have to try this recipe a few more times to get that "authentic" dish, I was pretty impressed with the final outcome.  The broth was very similar to cioppino and the flavor of the chorizo enhanced all of the other ingredients. In the traditional recipe, all of the liquid is fully absorbed into the rice, but I really liked having the broth with the rice. (I don't think I would change a thing there because the broth was heavenly.)

Instead of the traditional paella pan I used my faithful stock pot and it worked out great, no special pan needed.  In place of arborio rice and saffron threads, I used a saffron rice mixture, and it was a perfectly seasoned shortcut. I was very surprised at how easy this dish was to prepare, so I'm sure we will be making it again, and I can't wait to try it on the outdoor grill.

This is a really fun dish to make and enjoy with guests.  There is something for everyone and one thing is for sure, there won't be any leftovers!  Enjoy!!

2 TB  Olive Oil
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 medium  Onion, chopped
1 small Red Pepper, chopped
1 small Yellow Pepper, chopped
5 oz pkg  Riojano Sliced Chorizo
1 cup  Yellow Rice with Saffron
2 1/4 cups  Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp  Smoked Paprika
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 cup  Frozen Baby Peas
12  Fresh Clams, scrubbed
12  Fresh Mussels, scrubbed
12  Fresh Shrimp, shelled and deveined, leaving tail attached
1 pkg  Trader Joe's Frozen Seafood Mix (shrimp, scallops and calamari), defrosted

Heat oil in a large stock pot or paella pan over medium-high heat.  When oil begins to shimmer add the garlic, onion, peppers and chorizo.  Cook until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the rice, broth, paprika, salt and pepper and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until about half of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Add the peas to the pot and stir gently.  Add the clams, mussels and shrimp to the pot, pressing the shellfish down into the rice and broth, then add the package of Seafood Mix, again lightly pushing the seafood into the rice and broth.  Cook for 4 - 5 minutes or until the shells are opened and the shrimp are pink and cooked through.  (Discard any mussels or clams that did not open.)

Serve the Paella with lemon wedges on the side and a glass of light red Rioja or Chianti wine.


  1. Don't you just love the flavors in paella. I enjoy making it when I'm entertaining a group...there is something for everybody. I'm sure yours was a real hit.

  2. My little group loved the flavors and I can't wait to make this again. I might need to add extra mussels next time, they were sooo good. Thanks for visiting Karen.


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