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Paella Question

I have a question that those of you with experience in cooking paella may be able to answer:

I know how to make paella, because my mother is from Spain and she taught me years ago. However I've only ever made paella for up to 8 people. In a few weeks I am having a tapas party for about 15 people, and among the things I am making I would like to serve Mom's paella to my guests.

The problem is that I don't have a paella pan big enough to serve 15 people, and I also don't have any outdoor space in my current flat (and paella is always better when made in a paella pan over a flame.) I've found a couple of recipes for making paella using a Dutch oven when you don't have a paella pan. However I don't have a Dutch oven big enough to serve 15 servings!

One thought I had was that I could prepare two portions of paella in two skillets simultaneously on top of the stove, including browning the meat/seafood and making the sofrito. Then before I add the liquid to cook the rice, I could transfer the mixture of rice, seafood, veggies, etc. into a disposable aluminum lasagna pan, spread it all out along the bottom of the lasagna pan, and then pour in the stock to cover. Then I could just let it bubble away in the oven at 375 until the rice is finished. But I'm not sure if this would work.

If anyone has any suggestions I'd be really grateful. Thanks!

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  1. I do lots of paella for small, medium and large crowds. Your method will work, you just won't have that great crunchy stuff on the bottle of the pan.

    1 Reply
    1. re: duck833

      That crunchy stuff is the soccarat and it's hard if not impossible to have a great authentic Paella with out it. Paella is all about the rice. It should never be overly moist or creamy which can be a side affect of holding the dish too long after it's finished cooking.

    2. If you're serving paella as only one of several dishes at the party, then "paella for 8" may actually be enough for 15 people. But yes, you can do it is small skillet batches and then just use the oven to keep it warm.

      1. I use my large al-clad skillet for paella. I put it on the FLOOR of the oven, this gives me some of the nice crunchy rice on the bottom.

        1. Thanks for the hints all. I hadn't thought of completely cooking the rice all the way to the end and then just keeping it warm in the covered lasagna pan. My thought was to cook it in the lasagna pan. I realize I won't get the crust, but by that point we'lll be halfway through a case of cava so I don't think anyone will notice. ;-)

          1. I have used a pella pan and a pizza pan to prepare paella for a group. It worked out nicely, because I had a afew guests that did not eat pork, so their pan did not have it.

            4 Replies
            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

              Normal Heights as in San Diego? What a wonderful neighborhood. I lived in Kensington in the late 70's.

              It brought a smile to my face when I visited a couple of years ago and the Normal Heights sign was still there. In fact, much of the North Park area hasn't changed much at all.

              I certainly miss those days.....

              1. re: bkhuna

                I am sure that your Ken home is still the same, the area has gone through a gentrification and both ken and NH are great places to live with small resteraunts and bars.

                1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                  Far from the days of attending midnight movies at the Ken. Just how many years did Rocky Horror play there?

                  1. re: bkhuna

                    I don;t know, but I took my daughter to midnight movies their on Sat.