- 3 large pinches of saffron threads
- ½ cup hot water
- Olive oil for cooking
- 12 ounces ground chorizo
- 1 whole chicken, deboned with skin still on (You may marinate your chicken beforehand.)
- 2 large onions, medium diced
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 pounds paella rice
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 6–8 cups no-salt chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 2 large bay leaves
- 13 large clams
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled with the tails still on
- 8 ounces cooked peas
- 1 red pepper, roasted and skin removed
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
Grind the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle as close to powder as you can get. Add ½ cup of hot water to the powder and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chorizo and brown. Remove the chorizo from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken, skin side down in the pan, and raise the heat to medium/medium-high. Sear the chicken and remove from pan. The chicken will not be cooked through—it will finish cooking in the dish later on. Set aside and, when it is cool enough, cut into bite-sized pieces.
Add more olive oil to the pan, depending on how much fat is left over from the previous cooking steps. Lower the heat again to medium. Add diced onion and garlic and a sprinkling of salt. Stir to mix and cook until the onions are translucent and soft. This usually takes 5–10 minutes, depending on your pan. Add the rice in an even layer over the onions, add about ¾ tablespoon of salt to start and let the rice toast on the bottom for a minute or two, stirring occasionally. Drizzle about ¼ cup olive oil over the rice. (This will help to make the socarrat—caramelized layer of rice on the bottom of the dish—later in the process.) Add the saffron water and paprika, then mix into the rice until it is completely and evenly yellow/orange. Add the chicken and chorizo and mix in evenly.
Pour in enough chicken stock to cover the rice by about ½ inch. Stir well and add the bay leaves. Check the dish for salt levels, adjust according to taste and cover. Bring to a boil and place the cleaned clams in the top half of the cooking rice so that they have enough space to open. Continuing over medium heat, let the dish cook undisturbed until the chicken stock is just below the surface of the rice. Add the shrimp and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. The rice should be cooked through. Add peas and roasted red peppers, remove lid and continue to cook over medium heat until the rice begins to caramelize on the bottom. This is the socarrat, a coveted part of traditional paella.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve straight from the pan, scraping the socarrat from the bottom.