Paella is one of Spain’s best known dishes and is made in a shallow, large pan. This classic Spanish rice dish is made with rice, saffron, vegetables, chicken, and seafood. Originally a farm labourers’ food, it was cooked by the workers over a wood fire with rice and whatever meat and seafood was on hand. Over the years it has been adopted by many cuisines but the basic ingredients remain the same.

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1/2 cup olive oil
4 to 6 chicken thighs
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
16 to 18 shrimp
16 to 18 mussels
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped jalapeño pepper
2 cups calrose rice
1/4 cup brandy or mezcal liqueur

Pinch of saffron
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup peas
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Additional stock, if required

Mix the saffron with the liquor and set aside. Add the olive oil to a paella pan and heat. Add the shrimp and cook for maximum 3 minutes over high heat (you do not want to overcook them). Transfer the cooked shrimp to a plate. While the shrimp is cooking, season the chicken pieces with the teaspoon salt and pepper. In the same skillet the shrimp was cooked, brown the chicken well on both sides (3 to 5 minutes per side). The chicken will not be fully cooked at this point. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat and add the sausages. Cook until golden brown (3 to 5 minutes). Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add the onions and peppers. Cook until transparent and soft (about 4 minutes) and then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the rice and toast it in the pan along with the vegetables for 3 minutes. Add the steeped saffron and liqueur and reduce ensuring that any bits have been scraped off the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and bay leaf and stir the rice. Return the chicken pieces back to the pan and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, checking the pan to ensure the rice does not stick. If the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is not fully cooked, add additional stock 1/4 cup at a time. Once the rice is cooked to desired consistency, add the peas and stir in. Add the mussels by burying them in the rice. Cover once again and cook until the mussels open (approximately 3 to 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and add the cooked sausages and shrimp to the pan. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Serve in the paella pan. Serves 4 to 6.

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