Joined Mar 4, 2000
I'm cooking for 9 guests this Saturday, and my husband volunteered paella as the dish, even tho' niether of us have made it. I bought a Spanish cookbook by P. Casas, which was no help at all. It suggests cooking some of the seafood for about 30 minutes, so I know it can't be good.

So I have to ask you guys for help.

First of all, what kind of rice works best?

Is it true that the rice does not get covered at all during the cooking? (And is it necessary to steam it in a covered pan after cooking, as the cookbook advises?)

I have 1 16" pan. Will that suffice for 9 sizeable servings? I plan to include a couple of lighter courses to accompany the rice.

What can I prep beforehand, and what has to be done at the last minute?

I will take any other suggestions you might have.

Joined May 29, 1999
some ideas on the dish:

i used my george forman grill to grill up chorizo, chicken and some shrimp while i reheated some brown rice with chix stock and saffron, peas, onion, green olives and white wine. steamed out some shell fish on top of the rice, tossed in the precooked meats and shrimp, drained the drainy pan from the grill over the rice and had the best dam paella i ever had!!!!

the nice thing about paella is you can kind of wing it if the situation is casual.

go to the book store and read the recipes to get an idea. I love the Vincent Price cook book from the 60's for this type of cooking. there are so many great spanish cookery books out there!

Have a great dinner!!!!


you can get spanish yellow rice in a little plastic bag in the grocery too.

i know, i am a baker after all!
Joined May 26, 2001
Hey, guys, that sounds good to me!! :lips: If you use regular old rice (but NOT Uncle Ben's!), be sure to rinse it first so it doesn't get gummy. And don't forget to sprinkle on some julienne of red peppers, too. Nice color contrast with the yellow rice, browned meats, and green peas.

A recipe I've got uses 3 cups raw rice for 6 people -- so that means 1 cup cooked per. It also has 1 lobster, 1 small chicken, and 2 ounces of diced lean pork for the whole dish, plus 1 medium shrimp, 1 clam, 1 mussel, and 1/2 a chorizo per person. Sounds kind of short on protein for an American audience. But at least it's a start.

And if anyone complains it's not autentico, remind them that there are as many recipes for paella as there are for gazpacho, or cassoulet -- in other words, as many as the cooks who make it! According to that recipe, "Only olive oil, riceand saffron (which provides the yellow glow) are always used". So have fun with it, and have a great time!!
Joined Mar 13, 2001
You should have bought "SEDUCTIONS OF RICE", a Canadian book by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

Every Spanish cook has his or her own version of this classic special-occasion rice dish. Although the ingredients vary depending on the cook and regional customs, two items are essential--saffron and rice, preferably the short-grain Spanish type, which is similar to Italian Arborio. Spanish chorizo is a dry-cured pork sausage; do not substitute Mexican chorizo, which is fresh.

Here's one for 8 (maybe 9) ;)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or 4 chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks, and skinned, if desired
2 1 1/4-pound live lobsters
2 1-inch-thick pork chops, boned and cut into 1-inch cubes (reserve bones)
1 pound (about 16) large shrimps, shelled, leaving last tail segment attached, and deveined
1/4 pound Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (substitute kielbasa if desired)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups short-grain Spanish white rice (substitute Arborio or long-grain rice if desired)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
5 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 dozen small clams, scrubbed
1 pound small mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 cup slivered pimiento

1. In deep 12-inch nonstick skillet, 6-quart shallow Dutch oven, or wok, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and slowly brown well on all sides--about 25 minutes. Transfer pieces as they brown to roasting pan or very large bowl.

2. Meanwhile, split each lobster lengthwise in half, discarding intestinal sac. Separate lobster halves into body and tail sections and claws; crack the claws. Set lobster pieces aside.

3. Add pork cubes and reserved bones to skillet; brown well on all sides. Transfer pork and bones to pan with chicken. Add shrimp to skillet and sauté just until they turn pink and firm; transfer to pan with chicken and pork. Add lobster pieces and sauté until the shells begin to turn red; transfer to pan with chicken, pork, and shrimp.

4. Add chorizo and sauté until lightly browned; transfer to pan with other ingredients. Add onion to skillet and sauté until translucent--about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic; sauté 30 seconds.

5. Add rice to skillet and stir to coat with oil. Crumble saffron between fingers and stir into rice mixture. Stir in water, browned pork bones, lobster body sections only (no tails or claws), the chorizo, and bay leaves. Cover and heat to boiling.

6. Push clams and mussels into boiling rice mixture, making sure that the edge of each will face up when open. Cover and cook until shells just open--about 10 minutes for mussels and l5 minutes for clams. Transfer opened mussels and then clams to pan with shrimp. Reduce heat to low.

7. Remove and discard bay leaves, pork bones, and lobster body sections from rice mixture. With fork, stir in salt and pepper; bury chicken and lobster tails and claws in rice mixture. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer or until rice is no longer soupy and is almost tender. If there is still too much liquid, cook rice mixture uncovered a few minutes.

8. With fork, gently stir peas, pimiento, and shrimp into rice mixture. Top with clams and mussels; cover and cook until rice is tender and peas are heated through. Remove paella from heat and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Spanish rice can be somewhat difficult to find in North American groceries, but it is available by mail-order. The most outstanding Spanish rice is a variety called bomba; other rices from the Calasparra region are also prized. You may find large spanish producers including SOS and La Farella, which sell good medium-grain rices, labelled "Valencia rice" or "rice for paella." Look for the top grade of rice, marked "extra", it has fewer broken grains than the next grade, "categoria 1". If you can't find Spanish rice, substitute a superfino-grade Italian rice such as carnaroli, arborio, or vialone nano.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Dear Momo,

You will need two heavy frying pans (cast iron is good), eleven or twelve inches in diameter. Divide a recipe that serves six to eight (or nine) in two and cook it in two pans at once. Since paella needs very little attention once the liquid is added, doing two pans at once is very manageable. [Your 16-inch pan should work, it would be my guess!]

Also, for a more flavourful paella, substitute fish stock for water. Here's a quick recipe for stock:

Spanish Fish Stock
Makes about 12 cups stock

If you have a good fish stock, like this quick straightforward one, you can easily cook most of the Spanish arroces (Paella) from the rice-growing coast.

To make a good fish stock, make a trip to a local fishmonger or a good fish department in a large grocery store. Buy fish trimmings, including heads and necks, shrimp shells, and some bones and tails. Haddock and shellfish trimmings are good; salmon is fine, but don't use more than one third salmon proportionately or its distinctive taste will overpower the other ingredients.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
Sprig of thyme (optional)
Several sprigs of flat-leaf parsley (optional)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
About 8 black peppercorns
12 cups water (or up to 4 cups dry white wine plus enough water to make 12 cups total)
4 to 5 pounds fresh fish heads and trimmings and shrimp shells, well rinsed

In a large heavy nonreactive pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until well softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato and cook until softened. Add the bay leaf, the optional herbs and lemon juice, the salt, and pepper, then add the water (or water and wine mixture) and bring to a boil. Add the fish bones and trimmings and simmer for 40 minutes over medium-low heat, skimming as necessary.

Strain the stock through a large sieve into a bowl and discard the debris. For a much clearer stock, strain a second time, through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. (We skip this step, because we prefer the extra flavor of the unfiltered stock).

Let cool, then store in clean nonreactive containers with tight-fitting lids. Fish stock can be stored for 3 days in the refrigerator or frozen for 2 months.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
I love paella such a great dish to m ake for dinner. I have quite a few recipes, vegetarian, seafood, etc. I was just reading about paella in the Spain volume of the Culinaria serie. I'll post some recipes tomorrow.
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Lots of great ideas here...

I think I'm going to combine a few of them.

Because I'm concerned that 16" may be too small for a paella cooked in the pan, I'm going to cook the rice in a separate pan, then add all the pre-cooked meats to that before adding to the larger vessel.

Kimmie, I will definitely follow some of the directions in the recipe you provided. I have reservations about cooking any of the meat or fish in the rice for any length of time, so I will probably only cook it for the last 5 minutes, to re-warm the pre-cooked pieces.

I appreciate the advice. I always thought that making paella was a lot like risotto, in the amount of attention and time involved, but I'm seeing that there are many ways of preparing it.

Thanks guys.:)
Joined Nov 29, 2001
The book by P. Casas is wonderful and I've made the paella. I made it for my gourmet group and it was out of this world. Keep in mind that most of the liquid is going to go into the rice and will not really rubber-ize the seafood.

I've used arborio rice for paella with great results.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Sorry for the delay Momo, the conditions were not favorable yesterday. I have three recipes from Culinaria Spain: Paella Valencia, Paella Marinera and Paella De Verduras.

Paella Valenciana
Valencian style Paella
Serves 8

1 1/4 cup garofo or dried white beans
Salt & Pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 chicken weighting about 2.75 pounds
1 ready to cook rabbit
24 snails
2 cups tavella or other young bean seeds
2 1/4 pound ferraura or other green beans
2 medium size (250g) tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon saffron
3 cups medium grain rice

Soak the white beans overnight and drain the following day. Wash the chicken and the rabbit thoroughly and pat dry. Cut into small pieces. Season with salt & pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a paella pan and brown the chicken and rabbit on all sides on a medium heat; then add the snails and fry briefly. Remove the meat and snails from the pan and set them aside.

Add the beans, green beans, tomatoes and garlic to the oil and brown. Add the white beans and pour in 10 1/2 cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the saffron and rice and mix well. Boil for 10 minutes; then add the meat and snails and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat, until the water has boiled away. Continue to simmer for a few more minutes so that the crust (socarrat) forms.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Paella Marinera
Paella With Fish & Seafood

3/4 cup olive oil
2 jumbo shrimps
4 langoustines
9 oz. Small squid or squid rings
2 tomatoes, skinned and diced
2 cups medium-grain rice
4 cups fish stock
A pinch of saffron
1 cup meat stock
9 oz cooked mussels

Heat oil in a paella pan. Brown the shrimps and langoustines, remove and set aside. Brown the squid in the oil and mix in the tomatoes. Add the rice, pour in the fish stock, and season. Stir in the saffron into the meat stock and add to the pan. Boil for 10 minutes, then simmer on a low heat for another 10 minutes. Add the mussels, langoustines and shrimps and reheat in the rice. Leave to stand briefly before servings.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Paella De Verduras
Vegetable Paella

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 large eggplant cut into large cubes
1 large red and 1 large green pepper, diced
9 oz each of flageolet and white beans
9oz mangel, roughly diced
4 artichoke hearts
2 tomatoes, skinned and diced
2 cups medium grain rice
1/8 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon saffron

Heat the olive oil and fry the garlic briefly Add the vegetables and fry briefly. Pour in 4 cups water and stir in the rice. Season with salt, paprika and saffron. Boil for 10 minutes, then simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat, adding water if necessary.

P.S. You can put everything in a paella. Do it according to your taste. I never use water, preferring vegetable, fish or chicken stock depending on what is in the paella..
Joined Mar 4, 2000
I made the flan from the Casas book (with condensed milk), and it came out wonderfully well. Rich, and not eggy. Subbed in hazelnuts for the almonds, and plan to pair it with a sangria sauce and whipped cream.

I will let you know about our paella tomorrow.

Thank you all.:)
Joined Mar 4, 2000
The dinner was a success, for the most part. Everyone loved the paella, although we made WAAYYY too much. That's okay, I wanted it to be specatcular to look at, and everyone got to take home leftovers.

The gazpacho came out delicious, but I had to use very expensive tomatoes to make it so.

For the paella, we used Goya medium grain rice. I was afraid that arborio would turn out too gluey, despite advice that I've read here and elsewhere. Honestly, the paella I had in Spain was made with long grain, as I recall, but everything I read says to use short grain. A nice short grain rice is hard to find in the supermarkets here, so I opted for medium. It turned a bit gloppy towards the end of the meal, but it was fine at the beginning. I think it was the 10 minutes of letting it sit covered before serving, that turned it that way. (Everyone raved, so I guess we're the only ones who noticed). So this being my first experience with this dish, I would not follow the common advice to leave the rice covered after cooking, for any length of time. Other than that, it was fab.

And the dessert... well, that's what I do best.;) I made a hazelnut flan with a sangria sauce, just using the fruits that you typically find in sangria, and a reduction of wine, grape juice concentrate, Calvados, and Triple Sec. A little whipped cream and orange zest, and that was it.

Minimal time in the kitchen is always my goal when entertaining at home, and this meal really allowed us to enjoy the party too.
Joined May 29, 1999
i too would do the long grain!

good for you, may you have many many many more great parties!!!!:bounce:
Joined Nov 19, 1999
Paella is such a versatile dish. I use long rain rice too, and add an assortment of vegetables to add color. It goes over big at the sorority.

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