- 8cups very strong chicken broth (bouillon)
- 1tsp saffron threads
- 1tsp smoked Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
- 1small onion, peeled
- 6large bone-in skin on chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
- 1/2cup olive oil
- 1/4lb Spanish cooking chorizo, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1/4lb Serrano ham, diced
- 1medium onion, chopped
- 8oz fire roasted tomatoes, diced
- 4scallions, green part only, chopped
- 4tbsp chopped garlic
- 6roasted piquillo peppers, coarsely chopped
- 1lb small or medium shrimp, shells on or off to your taste
- 3lobster tails, split lengthwise (optional); OR
- 3live lobsters, boiled, tails split lengthwise and claw meat removed (discard or keep the head and small claws for an impressive garnish) (optional)
- 12cooked King crab claws (optional)
- 18small clams and/or mussels (If using clams, soak them in salted water for a couple of hours to remove any sand. Discard any clams that do not close.
- 3cups short grain Spanish rice such as Bomba
- 1cup fresh or frozen peas
- 5tbsp chopped parsley
- 2bay leaves, crumbled
- Lemon slices or wedges for garnish
Heat the broth with the saffron, pimentón and the whole onion. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Discard the onion and keep broth warm.
Dry the chicken well with paper towels and season with salt. Heat the oil in a 15” paella pan, add the chicken thighs and fry both sides over high heat until golden. Remove to a warm platter. Add the chorizo and jamón to the pan and stir fry about 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add the chopped onion, tomatoes, scallions, garlic, and pimientos. Sauté until the onion is soft. Add the shrimp and lobster tails and sauté about 3 minutes more, or until the shrimp and lobster barely turn pink (the shellfish will cook more in the oven.) If using whole boiled lobster, omit adding the cooked tails with the shrimp. Remove the shrimp and lobster to the platter with the chicken.
Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it well with the oil. Sprinkle in the 5 tablespoons of chopped parsley and the crumbled bay leaves. (You can make in advance up to this point.) Stir in the warm chicken broth, rice, and peas. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Bury the shrimp and the chicken in the rice. Arrange lobster tails facing up on top. Add the clams and/or mussels into the mixture one-by-one, evenly distributing throughout and placing the shellfish so they open facing up.
Bake at 325° F uncovered for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes tuck in the lobster claws and king crab claws if using. Remove from the oven and let sit on top of the stove, lightly covered with foil, for about 10 minutes. Discard any mussels or clams that did not open. Decorate the paella with the lobster heads if using.
Garnish with lemon slices before serving.
Serve with crusty bread and a crisp Spanish white or rosé wine!
Cook’s note: If a 15” paella pan is too big to fit into your oven, finish the paella on the stovetop by simmering for an additional 15-20 minutes until all of the broth has been absorbed-adding extra liquid if necessary. It is important to not stir the paella during this step.
Customize this recipe by replacing any of the proteins with an equal amount of the protein of your choice.