just being bonnie

Grilled Paella

I’m publishing this preparation for our Grilled Paella party tonight … we’ll work through it and catch any errors or improvements this evening! And, we’ll take pictures.


Morgan & York
Paella Mixta demonstration, Spring 2013

Cook’s Illustrated
Cooking at Home with America’s Test Kitchen, 2006

La Paella
Traditional Chicken Paella, June 2012

Food and Wine
Chicken and Seafood Paella, Spring 2013

serves 10 as a main course (using my 20″ pan)


chicken stock, 12 cups unsalted
saffron threads, 1 teaspoon toasted

olive oil, 1/3 cup extra virgin (as needed)
onion, 1 large yellow chopped fine (1-1/2 cups)
garlic, 3 cloves crushed or minced
tomatoes, 3 medium (or 20+ ounce canned diced, drained)
paprika, 1/8 teaspoon Pimentón del la vera (smoked paprika)
chile, 1 dried nora chile in 1/2 cup boiling water (optional) chopped

squid, 1-1/2 pound tubes and tails cut into rings (optional)
chicken thighs, 10 halved crosswise
dry-cured chorizo, 6-10 ounces halved lengthwise and sliced
red pepper, 2 stemmed seeded and cut into strips
rice, 3-1/2 cups Bomba (short gain)
salt and ground black pepper


Preparation: Chop onion. Mince garlic. Drain tomatoes. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Marinate shrimp. Chop peppers. Debeard mussels. Shell and devein shrimp.

Stock: Heat stock to a simmer. Lightly toast saffron in a skillet, then grind with a mortar and pestle. Add saffron to stock. Cover and set aside. Return to simmer when ready for the next step.

Start grill: Light charcoal in a chimney. When ready, spread evenly in the bottom of the grill. (Start another chimney with charcoal to have ready to add before starting the rice.) When ready to start cooking, set paella pan on a stand over charcoal.

Sofrito: Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in paella pan. Sauté onion until translucent. Sauté garlic for a minute (do not let it brown). Add tomato, paprika or chile and a pinch of salt and sauté for 3-5 minutes until thick and pasty. When ready, move to the outer edge of the pan.

Squid (optional): Add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, sauté squid for 3 minutes until they lose their transparency, mixing with sofrito as they cook. Move everything to the edge of the pan again.

Chicken: Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, sauté chicken thighs for about 4 minutes per side, just long enough to sear the outer surface. Again push everything to the edge.

Chorizo: Add chorizo and sauté until deeply browned, stirring frequently. Push to the outside edge of the pan.

Rice: Add rice, sauté for a minute or two until it turns translucent,. Stoke up the fire at this point, adding charcoal if necessary, to make sure you will have a good high heat for 10-15 minutes after you add the broth. (You may need to remove the pan from the fire to do this. Once your fire is ok, put the pan with the sautéd ingredients back on to warm up to temp.

Once everything is warm again, pour the simmering broth/stock into the pan (make sure you still have 10+ cups or add to make up for the extra that has evaporated during simmering.) Stir only once to evenly distribute the rice and other ingredients. Taste the broth/stock at this point for salt. (It should be a hair saltier than you might think is perfect in order to compensate for the starch in the rice of the finished dish. Add as necessary.)

Mussels & shrimp: Add mussels , spacing them evenly and placing them joined end of the shell down so they open up out of the pan as they cook in the broth. Scatter shrimp over rice and between mussels. Continue cooking over medium heat for 12 minutes or so until all the broth is absorbed. Discard any mussels that don’t open.

Socarrat: If you’re lucky a little bit of golden brown crust will develop on the bottom of the rice. The rice should be moist, but al dente, not mushy or dry. When you know you’re getting close to done, you can poke a little hole in the rice with the back of a wooden spoon to see how the rice is doing at the bottom of the pan.

Depending on how the rice looks and your tastes, you can increase the heat just a bit at the very end with a few dry twigs to help get the socarrat, but be careful not to burn the paella or dry it out in the attempt. (It is better to do without the socarrat than to end up with a dry, burnt paella.)

When the paella is done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle peas evenly over paella and cover with a kitchen towel to let rest for ten to fifteen minutes. (Be patient, it needs to cool down a bit and set up.)

Serve: Remove towel, sprinkle parsley over paella and tuck lemon wedges around the edges. Serve in the center of a large table or self-serve in buffet fashion.

  • My 18″ paella pan is for 8 main servings or 12 tapas servings.
  • I also have a small paella pan (2-3 servings) that I can make a version without shellfish or without meat at the same time (on the gas stovetop).
  • I like to serve  appetizers to enjoy while the paella is cooking because the aromas makes everyone hungry… manchego, olives, crudités & dip.
  • A big leafy salad is a nice accompaniment, even though not traditional.
  • Beverages … sparkling water, orange wedges, sangria, Spanish white wine, beer.
  • Desert … cool and light.

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