Grilled Paella with Shellfish, Chorizo, and Chicken (Paella Mixta). The traditional Spanish dish, made with shellfish, chorizo, and chicken, cooked on a kettle grill.
(Inspired by Sarah Jay, Fine Cooking Magazine)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound chicken breast tenders
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 8 ounces Spanish chorizo (or a spicy dry cured sausage like sopressata)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika (Pimenton de La Vera)
- 3 cups short grain rice (Valencia is authentic; Arborio is easier find.)
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ tsp saffron threads (optional - expensive, but authentic)
- 4 cups chicken broth (or water)
- 16 oz bottled clam juice (or more broth)
- 1 pound 20-25 count shrimp, uncooked
- 12 little neck clams
- 24 mussels
- Prepare your ingredients: The key to this recipe is having all your prep work done before you start cooking. Sprinkle the chicken tenders with ½ teaspoon of salt. Dice the chorizo. Chop all the vegetables; put the chorizo, onion and bell pepper in one bowl, and the garlic and paprika in another bowl. Heat the broth and clam juice to a simmer, then crumble in the saffron threads and let them steep. Rinse and check all the clams and mussels. (Nothing will ruin a dish like a bad mussel or clam. Make sure all the shellfish are tightly closed, or close when you squeeze them. If in doubt, throw it out!)
- Prepare the grill for direct medium-high heat (400°F): Set your grill up for cooking on medium-high heat. For my kettle grill, this means filling a Weber charcoal chimney with charcoal, lighting it, and waiting for it to be covered with white ashes. Then, I spread it over 2/3rds of the grill grate in an even, single layer of coals.
- Brown the chicken: Put the paella pan on the grill over direct heat, then add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Wait for the oil to start shimmering, about 1 minute. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it well on each side, about 2 minutes per side, then remove to a cutting board and chop the chicken into 1-inch chunks. Set the chicken aside for later.
- Sauté the aromatics and chorizo: Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and let it heat until shimmering. Add the onions, peppers, and chorizo to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Make a hole in the center of the onions and add the garlic and paprika. Sauté for about a minute, or until you can smell the garlic, then stir the garlic and paprika into the onions.
- Simmer the rice: Stir the rice into the pan and cook until the grains are shiny, about 1 minute. Pour in the half cup of white wine, bring to a simmer, and stir it into the rice. Pour in enough of the broth, clam juice, and saffron mix to just come to the top of the rice. Simmer the rice for 15 minutes, adding more of the broth/clam juice mix whenever the rice is starts to look dry; the rice will absorb most of the water during the cooking time. Rotate the pan every now and again to even out the heat.
- Cook the seafood: Add the mussels and clams, hinge side down, nestling them into the rice to hold them upright. Scatter the shrimp and the chicken over the top. Add one more pour of broth and clam juice if you have any left. Cook until the the mussels and clams open and the shrimp is opaque in the middle, about 10 minutes. Ideally, the rice will just start to brown on the bottom when the mussels are cooked. (That browning is called soccarat, and is prized in Spain. Check for it with a wooden spoon at a couple of spots in the pan. If you need to, leave the pan on the grill for an extra couple of minutes to get the soccarat.)
- Serve: Take the entire pan to the table, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let the rice rest for ten minutes. Remove the towel and serve.
Make sure your grill is level. My grill was on a bit of an incline, and the pan, rice, and liquid kept leaning to the left. I worked around this by turning the pan until the rice started to thicken up a bit.
In the pictures, you can see that I used cherrystone clams. This was a mistake; they were too large, and took too long to cook. I pulled them out of the paella and finished cooking them directly on the grill grate while the paella was in its "resting under a tea towel" step.
Looking for a good source of Paella pans and ingredients? Check out PaellaPans.com.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Spanish