Consider this a gateway paella and the first step to a serious, lifelong addiction. When I first do a version of a classic dish like paella, I try to use a minimum number of ingredients and steps to focus on technique. After learning the method, you'll ideally use a wider variety of ingredients, like clams, mussels, squid, and chicken, which will make your rice that much more interesting. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil, freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, and lemon wedges.

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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Saffron Broth:
Paella:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Cook and stir reserved shrimp shells and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until shells are pink and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir saffron into shells; add chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and cook until broth is a rusty brown and fragrant, about 20 minutes.

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  • Strain saffron broth through a fine-mesh sieve; measure out 2 cups of broth, pour into a small saucepan, and place over low heat to keep broth hot.

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Cook chorizo slices in hot oil until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add onion to sausage; cook and stir until soft and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.

  • Stir garlic into chorizo mixture; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice to skillet and stir to coat rice completely in oil; stir in peas.

  • Pat rice mixture evenly into the bottom of the skillet. Arrange shrimp in a single layer over the top of the rice. Lay pepper strips around and in-between shrimp; season with salt and cayenne pepper.

  • Increase heat to high. When rice begins to sizzle in the skillet, pour reserved 2 cups hot saffron broth over the shrimp; gently shake the skillet to distribute liquid.

  • Bake rice mixture in the preheated oven until rice is almost tender and still a bit wet, about 20 minutes.

  • Place skillet over medium-high and cook until rice is tender, liquid is absorbed, and rice caramelizes and crusts slightly on the bottom of the skillet, 3 to 5 minutes.

Cook's Note:

You can substitute smoked paprika for the paprika.

You can use hot chicken broth in place of the hot saffron broth.

You can use any smoky, spicy sausage in place of the chorizo sausage.

Nutrition Facts

476.4 calories; protein 26.4g 53% DV; carbohydrates 46.9g 15% DV; fat 19.3g 30% DV; cholesterol 150.2mg 50% DV; sodium 975.1mg 39% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (105)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/28/2014
First let me say the only thing I changed in the recipe is that I used 6 ounces of bulk chorizo because that's what I had on hand. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and technique exactly. This recipe was awesome! I was a little worried about shrimp being overdone at 20 minutes in the oven, it was fine but don't leave it in any longer. Don't skimp on simmering the shells with the broth, this added a lot of flavor! Saffron is pricey but please invest if you can. It does make a difference. The rice in the dish comes out slightly firm, it is not runny or creamy like risotto, it is nice and fluffy. I used a cast iron skillet. This recipe is a keeper! Thanks! Read More
(11)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
10/13/2016
I followed this recipe exactly as written and my rice didn't cook in the time specified and my shrimp was way overcooked. I thought 20 minutes in the oven with shrimp was a little too long. I should have added them in the last 10 minutes of cooking. The flavor was great with the saffron and shrimp tail broth that was made. Read More
(1)
141 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 125
  • 4 star values: 14
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
07/28/2014
First let me say the only thing I changed in the recipe is that I used 6 ounces of bulk chorizo because that's what I had on hand. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and technique exactly. This recipe was awesome! I was a little worried about shrimp being overdone at 20 minutes in the oven, it was fine but don't leave it in any longer. Don't skimp on simmering the shells with the broth, this added a lot of flavor! Saffron is pricey but please invest if you can. It does make a difference. The rice in the dish comes out slightly firm, it is not runny or creamy like risotto, it is nice and fluffy. I used a cast iron skillet. This recipe is a keeper! Thanks! Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
10/12/2014
Very tasty. Definitely will make this again! Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
05/26/2015
This base paella recipe was fantastic. The use of shrimp stock from the skins I think was the most important thing and a technique I'm happy to add to repertoire. I didn't bother with the saffron and ended up using long grain rice which resulted in a different cooking time. I also used andouille sausage which I think was perfect. I will be adding this recipe to my list of dinner meals and will likely add mussels clams and squid in the future. Read More
(6)
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Rating: 5 stars
10/16/2017
I don't think I have ever made a dish in my life more perfect. I am a man. I was single for 40 years before I met my wife. I made what sounded good to me. I am 60 years old. before my wife had a stroke 8 years ago we took turns, I cooked the meals half the time. I have cooked all the meals since then. The meals that count, that I can take some time with are usually Sunday night. The store I shop at doesn't sell Saffron, I had to go to a second store to get the saffron. I couldn't fine the arborior rice so I used Jasmine rice. I have never cooked with saffron or used the shrimp shells to make a stock. I make decent meals every day but this was off the charts . Thank you. Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
10/06/2014
My whole family loved it! I did use Pepperoni instead of the recipe sausage. I also used 2 lbs of medium shrimp instead of Jumbo shrimp. I used my regular "Jasmine" white rice and used their required amount of liquid. I think it took a little longer than your time required to soften after baking. The only reason for the changes was I didn't have all of the ingredients. Ti came out excellent & I will surely make it again Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
01/11/2018
This was the first time I made paella and turned out wonderful! Followed the recipe almost exactly only used green bell pepper instead of red and kielbasa sausage for the Spanish chorizo. Also I had to add a little water after taking it out of the oven (but maybe that was because I ended up with a bit less than the 2 cups of prepared broth it calls for in the beginning). I then covered my pan with its lid and cooked it on low for about 5 minutes and got those bits of golden caramelized rice Chef John's mentions in the video. This was really easy for a very tasty meal and also the cleanup was a breeze:) Thank you Chef John! Update: the second & third times I made this (within a month;) ) I added 1 lb. shoulder pork in pieces (previously cooked in a separate pan and seasoned with salt & pepper). I also didn't have chicken broth so used water with 1/4 onion 3 cloves of garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. I also doubled the saffron (used 1 tsp). added a handful of green beans and used 1 whole cup of peas it was delicious! Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
08/09/2014
Not too quick not too easy but well worth it! Read More
(3)
Rating: 4 stars
11/15/2015
I have never had Paella before so I am not sure what it is supposed to taste like. I used both Saffron (more than required) and smoked paprika and found it bland. I didn't change anything else except for the shrimp skins - I didn't have any. That may be the difference. Other than that everything cooked perfectly with the time given. Overall I will give it a 4 and give it one more go with the shrimp stock. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
12/27/2016
Came out great did not follow recipe exactly made some subs used Sazon con azafran ground chorizo medium grain rice and added diced chicken breast. Added shrimp at end when finishing on stove added liquid as needed. Came out nice and creamy great flavor. Disappeared would make again Read More
(2)
Rating: 3 stars
10/13/2016
I followed this recipe exactly as written and my rice didn't cook in the time specified and my shrimp was way overcooked. I thought 20 minutes in the oven with shrimp was a little too long. I should have added them in the last 10 minutes of cooking. The flavor was great with the saffron and shrimp tail broth that was made. Read More
(1)