Paella is a wonderfully flavorful dish from the Valencia region of Spain. Traditional Paella is cooked on the stove in a special aptly named Paella pan, a large carbon steel pan that distributes the heat evenly. Paella pans can be used on the grill also and in the summer making Paella outside is a treat for your guest.
When I am having a larger group I like to modify the traditional Paella recipe to make ahead and enjoy my guests. Most of the preparation can be done earlier in the day and assemble of the Paella just before you put in the oven.
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 fresh chorizo sausages or mild chicken sausages (about 1 3/4 pounds)
12 chicken thighs with skin and bones (about 4 1/4 pounds), excess fat trimmed
2 very large onions, chopped (about 5 cups)
10 garlic cloves, chopped, plus 1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves
3 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
1 1/2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 generous pinch saffron threads
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 teaspoons paprika
Chopped fresh parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy large shallow pot over medium-high heat. Add sausages and sauté until cooked through, turning often about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken, skin side down, to the pot. Cover and cook until brown, about 6 minutes. Turn chicken over, cover and cook until brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to bowl with sausages. Add onions and 10 chopped garlic cloves to pot; sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves; stir 2 minutes. Stir bell peppers. Transfer to another large bowl.
Toss shrimp with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 minced garlic clove and a generous pinch of saffron in a medium bowl. (Chicken-sausage mixture, vegetable mixture, and shrimp mixture can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush one 18 x 12 x 2 1/4-inch roasting pan with olive oil. Mix rice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt into vegetable mixture. Spread rice mixture evenly in prepared pan. Cut sausages diagonally into 1-inch slices. Using a wooden spoon, push sausage and chicken pieces into rice mixture; pour any juices from bowl over. Bring 5 cups chicken broth, paprika and remaining 1/4 teaspoon saffron to boiling in a medium saucepan. Pour evenly over rice mixture. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil. Bake until rice is almost tender, about 40 minutes.
Sprinkle shrimp mixture with salt and pepper. Arrange atop rice mixture. Cover pan with foil; bake until shrimp are opaque in center, rice is tender and most of the liquid in the pan is absorbed, about 20 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley.
You can make more than one pan for larger groups!
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Paella is a great party food!
I love to make in advance for a large group. Then I can enjoy my guests.