I finally made paella recently and it turned out wonderfully.  What is paella?  It’s a rice dish from Spain.  Valencia, Spain to be specific.  Paella reminds me of jambalaya and gumbo, even though the textures are different, because all three of them seem to have their origins stem from the idea of  ”throwing in whatever you’ve got”.

I ended up combining ideas from several recipes with the basis of my final recipe for mixed paella (a combination of meat & seafood) being taken from Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Paella recipe.

Tyler’s recipe just calls for “Spanish rice”. Since the rice is the star of the dish, I researched what kind of rice to use. Rice grown in the Valencia region of Spain is short grained and highly absorbent.  This is the kind you’ll want to use for paella.   The types to look for are bomba or calasparra. If you can’t find those, you can also try arborio, which is an Italian short grained rice usually used to make risotto,  or calrose.   Calrose is what I used, and it absorbs less liquid than the Spanish varieties but the texture still turned out great.  If using brown rice, remember that brown rice takes about twice as long to cook.

Here’s the list of ingredients and what to do:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 pound chorizo sausage
3/4 pound chicken breast tenders cut into bite sized pices
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
4 cups short grain rice
6 cups broth (Use either seafood stock, water, or chicken broth)
1 four oz jar roasted pimentos in juice
1 pinch saffron threads (infused in hot water)
1 pound large uncooked shrimp peeled and de-veined
1/2 cup frozen sweet peas
2 lobster tails
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
salt & fresh pepper

Combine paprika, oregano, and salt & pepper to taste in bowl. Rub the spice mix over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Heat oil in a paella pan (or shallow, wide skillet) over medium-high heat. Cook the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken to the pan and brown on all sides.  Remove from pan and reserve.

In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook until the mixture caramelizes.  Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in broth and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Do not stir.  Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer uncovered, without stirring, for about 10 minutes.  Add the lobster tails and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.

When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom.  This is called soccarat and this ‘burned bottom’ is actually desired!

Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Add peas to the top of the paella.  Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

This a great meal to put in the middle of the table and eat family style with a little white wine and a salad on the side.

Let me know how yours turns out!


We have been very busy over the past few weeks with a variety of things but part of the activity has included hosting overnight guests from Russia (actually for two weeks).   Along with making sure our everyday guest room was ready, we also set up the office as a temporary guest room.   That meant upgrading a futon mattress from thin to thick along with new sheets.

I am a big fan of white bedding (and use them on our master bed) because it’s simple, fresh, and easy to clean.  But I recently picked up two sets of sheets from Marshall’s for our guest spaces and I went with patterned linens – specifically polka dots!  I chose red polka dots for the temporary guest space in the office but blue polka dots for the guest room.  They are so fun and I love the change!

I’m also always on the lookout for good gift ideas whether they are DIY, like this gift basket or jar,  or just useful or fun finds, like this vase,  so I wanted to share that I love these Land’s End totes to give as gifts!   I ordered two  for our house guests and they are really great quality.   The canvas is really thick and they are sturdy enough so that they stand up on their own.  I am also loving the combo of navy trim with green embroidered letters.

Almost everyone can use a extra bag around, and being able to embroider it with a monogram, word, or graphic makes it a great gift for a wedding, anniversary, graduation – pretty much any occasion!


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