I think Paella is the perfect dish for large gatherings with friends and family because everyone can choose from the variety of ingredients according to their taste. Since recipes such as this use so much chicken stock, the quality of your stock will have an impact on the finished dish. I usually make homemade chicken stock (see my recipe), but you could also try adding some spices to store-bought stock if you prefer. I serve this dish with Sangria (see recipe) or a nice white wine.
¼ Cup Spanish Olive Oil ( I prefer Casas de Hualdo )
¾ lb. Chorizo cut into half-inch rounds
1.5 lbs. Chicken Thighs mixed between boneless and bone-in
1 lb. fresh shrimp peeled and deveined and tails removed
½ pound cod or other firm whitefish cut into pieces
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb Paella Rice
½ each of red, green, and yellow pepper chopped
1 medium red onion chopped
½ medium fennel bulb chopped into 1-inch pieces
5 cloves of garlic chopped
½ t dried hot pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1-½ t saffron threads
6 springs of fresh thyme
6 cups of chicken broth ( see my recipe for homemade broth below)
1 ½ t Pernod or substitute Pastis
¼ lb. oil-cured black olives
1 cup of peas (fresh or frozen)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a paella pan on medium-high. If you don’t have a paella pan you will need a pan that is 15” wide and about 1.5” high. Sauté chorizo slices until they are browned on both sides. Removed to a plate with a paper towel.
Add 4 tablespoons of oil to the pan with chorizo drippings. Season cut up boneless chicken thighs and bone-in chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and add to the hot pan. Brown chicken on both sides and remove to plate.
Put the paella rice in the same pan, and stir the rice over low heat until it turns translucent about 2 minutes. Add onion, peppers, fennel, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and cook another 3 minutes.
Add wine, saffron, thyme, and 5 cups of the chicken stock (reserving a cup of stock to add to paellas as it dries out during cooking), covering all of the ingredients in the pan by around a half-inch. Bring liquid to a boil in the pan, and add reserved chicken, chorizo, and Pernod. Place pan in the oven for 20 minutes.
While the paella is cooking, heat 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Add the clams to the saucepan and cover. Cook clams for several minutes until they begin to open. If any clams do not open throw them away.
Check the paella halfway through the cooking time in the oven, and add the reserved stock if the rice has soaked up all of the liquid. Place the fresh shrimp and cod pieces over the top of the paella and finish the cooking.
When Paella has baked for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and place cooked clams evenly over the top, and sprinkle black olives all over the paella. Bring to the table to serve so everyone can choose which protein they like best.
Homemade Chicken Stock
For some dishes, using homemade chicken stock makes the dish extra special. Here is my recipe for basic chicken stock. I use a small whole chicken complete with gizzards and all the parts that come with the chicken. You can make ahead and freeze if you want to speed up the preparation time.
4lb Chicken with all of the goodies that come with it
4 quarts cold water
8 white peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 t fresh thyme or substitute dried
6 whole cloves
6 sprigs of parsley
1 medium onion chopped
3 celery ribs chopped
1 carrot chopped
Fill a large stockpot with water and add the chicken parts to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Skim off any scum that floats to the top and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes add the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer partially covered for 3 more hours or until the stock has reduced roughly in half. Strain and use immediately in the recipe or let cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
I like to serve Sangria with my paella or as a refreshing summer cocktail.
1 bottle of robust red wine such as Spanish Rioja
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup peach or mango nectar
1/2 cup white rum
1/2 cup Cointreau or Gran Marnier 1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 lime thinly sliced
1 orange, thinly sliced
Sprite or club soda, to taste
In a large pitcher, stir together the wine, orange juice, nectar, rum, and Cointreau. Add the sliced fruit. Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Fill a glass about 1/2 full, and top with Sprite just before serving.