• 3 ¼ cups Ham Hock Broth (prep a day or more in advance)

  • 1 lb. extra-large shrimp (21/25), peeled and deveined

  • 2 Tablespoons garlic minced (8-9 cloves)

  • 1 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and halved crosswise

  • 1 red bell pepper, half inch strips

  • 8 oz. Spanish chorizo (Longaniza) , sliced on the bias (see note).

  • 1 onion, medium, chopped

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) drained, minced and drained again

  • 2 cups Arborio rice

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • ½ teaspoon saffron

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded

  • ½ cup frozen green peas, thawed

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1 lemon wedged for serving


Prior to guests arriving:

1. Prepare Ham Hock broth a day or more in advances (it freezes well too).

2. Toss shrimp, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, 1 Tbs. oil, and tsp. garlic in medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Season chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. A paella pan makes for an attractive presentation, or you can use a wok. 14 inches min. diameter or everything won’t fit. Heat 2 tsp. oil in paella pan or wok on medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally until skin begins to blister and turn spotty black (3-4 min). Transfer to small plate and set aside.

4. Add 1 tsp. to the pan; heat oil; add chicken in single layer; cook without moving pieces until browned (about 3 min.). Turn pieces and brown on second side (about 3 min longer); transfer to medium bowl.

5. Reduce heat to medium and add chorizo to pan stirring frequently, until deeply browned and fat begins to render (4-5 min.). Transfer chorizo to bowl with chicken and set aside. Leave fat in pan.

40-45 min before serving:

Adjust oven rack to lower position; preheat oven to 350 degrees

6. Add enough oil to the fat in the pan so that there is about 2 Tbs.; heat; add onion stirring frequently until softened (about 3 min.)

7. Stir in remaining garlic (~5 tsp.) and cook until fragrant (1 min.).

8. Stir in tomatoes; cook until mixture darkens and thickens slightly (3 min.)

9. Stir in rice and cook until grains are well coated with tomato mixture (1-2 min)

10. Stir in ham hock broth, wine, saffron, bay and ½ tsp. salt; return chicken and chorizo to pan, increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil uncovered stirring occasionally

11. Cover pan and transfer to oven; cook until rice absorbs almost all liquid (15 min.)

12. Remove pan from oven. Scatter shrimp over rice, insert mussels hinged side down into rice (so they stand straight upright), arrange bell pepper strips in a pinwheel pattern, and scatter peas over the top. Cover and return to oven; cook until shrimp are opaque and mussels have opened (10-12 min).

13. Soccarat is a layer of crusty browned rice that forms on the bottom of the pan. It is a traditional part of paella. For the Soccarat, cook the paella, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 3 min. rotating the pan 180 degrees after about 1 ½ min. for even browning.

14. Let paella stand, covered about 5 min. Discard any mussels that have not opened and bay leaf if easily found. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

Goes well with Sourdough Bread, Green Salad, Spanish Olives and Sangria.


· Dry-cured Spanish chorizo is dried like salami and the sausage of choice for paella, but fresh chorizo or linguica is an acceptable substitute. Do not substitute Mexican chorizo.

· To devein shrimp hold the shelled shrimp between thumb and forefinger and cut down the length of its back, about 1/8 to ¼ inch deep with a sharp paring knife. If the shrimp has a vein it will be exposed and can be pulled out easily.


Gerard's Paella

Paella is one of those Holy Grail dishes that top chefs and home cooks aspire to make authentically, a seemingly complicated dish that’s prone to disaster. Relax. Here, Gerard shares five tips to help you have a smash in the pan.

  • The “paella police” insist on cooking over a wood fire, but you can cook indoors on the stove,outdoors on a grill, even in the oven. What’s most important is that you use a shallow, flat-bottomed pan. This will allow the juices to steamaway without making the rice gloppy.

  • You may substitute many ingredients (chicken for rabbit, green beans for peas, crab for lobster), but don’t stray from a medium- to short-grain rice. Spaniards are very loyal to Bomba, but for me the Calrose rice grown in California rivals Bomba both in flavor and texture and costs way less. Basmati, jasmine, or any long-grain rice will not work. All will burn instead of easing into a wonderful socarrat on the bottom of the pan. Brown rice will not work either, because it has to be covered to cook and that’s taboo in the world of paella.

  • The most common cause of mediocre paella is filling the pan with too many ingredients and too much rice. Overly laden paellas will be mushy by the time the rice on top is cooked, and the flavor will be pale. My rule of thumb: Never go above the handle rivets on the inside of the pan.

  • For many Spaniards and paella aficionados, the socarrat is as important as the saffron. This is the crusty blackened rice on the bottom of the pan—for many, the equivalent of turkey skin. It is achieved by not stirring the pan and waiting patiently until the liquid is gone, the rice is cooked on top, and the socarrat has formed on the bottom.

  • People mistakenly associate paella with jambalaya or rice dishes from Mexico and think it needs to be spicy. Paella is not a spicy dish. It’s a Pinot Noir, not a big zesty Zinfandel. People asked us for hot sauce at big events until finally we put it out. You can slosh on the Scovilles, but resist the temptation—and you’ll better enjoy the subtle medley of flavors that paella has to offer.