HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What do you put in your PAELLA?

I normally use chicken, shrimp and chorizo. I also use low sodium chicken stock.

Real saffron for my regular paellas and AZAFRON for the really large 52" one.

What do you use?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Spanish Chorizo, chic thighs, little neck clams, shrimp, red and yellow peppers, frozen peas. I especially like when the rice gets into the clam shells.

    1 Reply
    1. re: treb

      Depends on what i have in the house and whether or not I'm feeding Egyptians that particular evening. Usual candidates are artichoke hearts, chorizo & shrimp, along with the usual aromatics & jalepenos or other hot peppers.. If I plan in advance, which is rare, clams and/or mussels and/or squid/octopus. Or 86 the seafood and replace with chicken wings/thighs. If i remember, i add a few green peas for a little color.

    2. Hot links, chicken thighs, shrimp, along with onion, peppers, peas, saffron, stock, rice...

      1. Chicken thighs, good chorizo, clams, sometimes scallops.

        1. I make Mark Bittman's tomato paella (as a vegetarian):


          It's awesome. Perhaps not what you're looking for, but I highly, highly recommend it in the height of summer when the tomatoes are fantastic.

          2 Replies
          1. re: IndyGirl

            That is the only reason to turn the oven on in the summer! I also make his version with prunes.

            1. re: IndyGirl

              I love this when the tomatoes are good! I will cheat with some chorizo sometimes (esp early in tomato season)

            2. Chicken and rabbit if I can find the rabbit.

              2 Replies
              1. re: khuzdul

                I keep forgetting rabbit. We have it readily available. Do you soak it in butter milk before you add it to the paella?

                1. re: JB BANNISTER

                  I do not pre-soak or brine the rabbit before adding it into the paella.

                  I have generally followed the "mother of all paellas" page by Jose Martinez, though I modify it in that I make a dry sofrito / sofregit out of onion, garlic and the tomatoes before browning the meat, which takes an hour. Anyway, his recipe salts the meat and then includes a 20 minute stewing period, followed by a 25 minute simmering period once the rice is added. The salting/stewing/simmering seems to help draw out some of the rabbit funk out of the meat so it is not that strong. On the other hand a little of the flavour it is now diffuse in the stew water that the bomba rice is cooking in, but can work with the other flavours in the dish. However, if you don't like the "natural" rabbit flavour anywhere in the dish (or if you were in a hurry and were not having the stewing period), then brining the rabbit in salt water (a soak butter milk if you prefer, but I think that salt water works better and is cheaper) before adding into the paella would be a good idea.

                  From your photo I'd say that my paella has nothing on your paella!

              2. Rabbit or chicken, prawns, beans, red pepper.

                Pretty much a bog standard paella Valenciana - with the exception of the snails, which I cannot easily source here.

                1. I prefer the seafood paella I often get at a favorite Spanish tapas restaurant (I've not yet made it myself). They use squid rings, shrimp, a nice sized piece of cod, a few scallops, and mussels and clams.

                  1. Considering how mush other meat you will have, I would do a seafood paella, lots of shrimp and shellfish. 52" of clams and mussels smiling at you from a bed of saffron rice would be a thing of beauty.

                    1. Well I messed up a BIG paella this weekend. I went with a 1:2 rice to stock and should have done a 1:1.5 . I made a very very wet paella. The rice was way over cooked. You can see the stock pooled on the side of the pane. I had to take it off the fire as some rice in the middle was burning.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: JB BANNISTER

                        I suppose some of the other ingredients provided some of the moisture absorbed by the rice. You are learning by trial and error! You'll get it right by the big day. A good paella has just a faint hint of a crisp where the contents meet the pan. Some dishes may be difficult to get right when done on an industrial scale.

                        1. re: JB BANNISTER

                          Holy frijoles, Batman! That's a monster paella! Would love to dig into that. :-)

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            See a lot of these used at fests in Europe. The largest one I saw was 2 meters in diameter (6.5 ft) at a garlic festival in Darmstadt Germany.

                            Did a paella census from Barcellona through Sitges, Linea, Algeciras, Cadiz, Sevilla, Jerez del a Fonterra and a variety of small villages along the way. The basic ingredients were rice, chicken stock, yellowing, seafood, something oniony. The touristy places tended towards saffron, spicy sausage, and langousta. This was in the summer. I never saw peas. Frozen chopped squid and octopus seemed to be the general seafood base. Dark meat in the small towns, while the touristy places went with the breasts as well.

                            The cook in Darmstadt had everything premeasured and ready to go. Meats and seafood thawed. All veggies chopped. Yellowing agent in the stock. His spice and salt mix ready to go.

                            Once the pan was emptied, the diffusers came off the burners. A can of olive oil. Two bags of chopped chicken. Two bags of red spicy sausage. A scoop of his spice mix. Used a small shovel to move everything around. couple bags of onion garlic. A couple bags of seafood mix. Rice. Get everything coated in the hot oil.

                            Turn down the burners and put the diffusers back on. Wait for the rice to cook. Since it was spring, he had fresh peas that were added at the end and then mixed in just prior to serving.

                            Total time was 25 to 30 minutes. It was really good. And the line was continuous. Many returning for seconds and thirds. Like myself.

                            Disclaimer: I am not saying this is an authentic or the best paella in the world. But this man served thousands over the course of a day, and his customers seemed satisfied. And with the huge number of German tourists in Spain, they have a pretty good idea on what a satisfactory paella should taste like.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              The best supplier I have found for them is on the web at www.paellapans.com They have great customer service and a large selection.

                              1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                JB, I'll take 60 inches for $2400, please.

                                I am seriously considering the large propane burner. Will better fit my oversized cookware than my current cast iron burners.

                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                  I like the propane one but I have a really neat steel box that is waist high that I use to cook with wood. It gets really hot but it is fun.

                          2. Has anyone brought up the fact that seafood and chicken served outdoors in the heat might not be such a great idea? I live in a 'magic house' but even I might be leery of that. Just a thought.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: c oliver

                              If it is sitting out for hours, yes, but otherwise, I don't see a problem with serving chicken and seafood outdoors in the heat. Have you ever seen the east coast seafood joints with picnic tables outside? What about fried chicken at a picnic?

                              1. re: wyogal

                                IIRC, these 'things' he does involve serving a couple of hundred of people so it's going to take quite a while.

                                Also, I should have mentioned that the quality is probably going to suffer. Paella is, IMO, something that should be served as soon as it's done. Just my opinions, of course.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I didn't realize the person was going to make it, let it sit for a couple of hours, then serve it.

                                  1. re: wyogal

                                    Oh, I doubt THAT would happen. Since they doing whole, large animals :) I'm sure they'd get done before the paella was cooked. I was just thinking that the mere act of serving that many isn't going to be a quick process. As I said, I live in a 'magic house' but I hear and read (here ALOT!!!!) about people who get sick at the drop of a hat. And I still think the quality would suffer.

                              2. re: c oliver

                                Real Men are not so easily spooked.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Anyone who thinks of himself as a "Real Man" would not be welcome at my table to begin with so it wouldn't be a problem.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    This is JB's table, and I doubt many real man-haters will attend.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Someone who isn't enamored of self-described "Real Men" isn't a "real man-hater." Sorry I didn't explain that better.

                                2. re: c oliver

                                  If we do it right. I let it "rest" covered for about 15 minutes to make sure the rice on tip is cooked. They we server it right away while it is still very hot. I expect it to be eaten within 30-45 minutes. This past weekend the rice was still hot for almost 2 hours in the shade.

                                  Also for safety sake I do pre cook my sausage and chicken before it goes in the pan. I do it the night before. I don't want to even take a chance that raw chicken residue will be anywhere near the finished product.

                                  1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                    Very cool. You've covered all the bases. Thanks for the elaboration.

                                3. Flavorful stock and bomba rice. Other than these, it's wide open.

                                  1. Since my favorite is not listed, thought l would add it. Squid with squid ink, and other shellfish is desired.

                                    1. Here is a before and after pictures.