Not-Completely-Authentic, Yet Still Delicious Paella

Homemade Delicious Paella

Let me start by explaining that I don’t have a paella pan. I’m not Spanish. I don’t have access to Spanish chorizo or jamón serrano. The Assistant doesn’t eat seafood.

(Are you still with me? Good.)

I wanted to make something interesting for The Husband’s birthday. He’s long raved about the Super Awesome Paella that they make for the exhibitors at Maker Faire, and I figured I’d give it a shot.

The pan: I used my All-Clad stainless skillet with a domed lid.

The meat: For jamón serrano, I used a thick slice of prosciutto. Instead of Spanish chorizo, I used a nice Andouille sausage.

The rice: While I’m sure that Calasparra rice is great, I wasn’t going to pay $8/pound plus shipping. I did a lot of research and found that a lot of people use Calrose Hinode rice with good results. That’s $1/pound and readily available.

The paprika: I have smoked Spanish paprika from The Spice House.

The saffron: As long as you’re placing an order from The Spice House, get the saffron as well.

Birthday Paella

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
We're not a seafood sort of family, so I tweaked several traditional Spanish paella recipes to accommodate our tastes.


  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 4 chicken thighs (with bone and skin)
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil (for frying)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
  • 8oz Andouille sausage (sliced)
  • .25lb prosciutto (diced)
  • .25 cup white wine
  • 1 heaped tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 cup calrose rice (or Calasparra)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh parsley
  • sherry vinegar
  • green onions (sliced)
  • lemon wedges


Step 1
Warm the chicken stock in a small saucepan over low heat.
Step 2
In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in 1 Tbsp warm water. Set aside.
Step 3
Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper. Heat grapeseed or olive oil in a paella pan or a covered skillet over medium-high heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
Step 4
Reduce the heat to medium. Add onion to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. When onion has softened, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Step 5
Add tomatoes, sausage, ham, wine and bay leaf. Simmer for 5 minutes until mixture thickens.
Step 6
Add smoked paprika and stir. Add chicken stock and soaked saffron. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Step 7
Add rice evenly and press gently to soak. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, for 10-12 minutes, or until most of the liquid has absorbed.
Step 8
Return the chicken and its juices to the pan and reduce the temperature to medium-low. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the meat reads 165 degrees F at its thickest part.
Step 9
I found that when the chicken was cooked, the rice was still a bit al dente. I added additional chicken stock -- another half cup -- and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
Step 10
When the rice is properly cooked, remove from heat and allow the concoction to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Step 11
Garnish with a splash of sherry vinegar, parsley, lemon slices and green onions.


Weekend-AllThis is a weekend project, without a doubt. It’s also the kind of cooking project that lends itself to leisurely eating on the back patio with a nice sangria.

The Assistant loved the ham and sausage, and was largely ambivalent about the chicken.

The Husband was caught licking the serving spoon because he didn’t want any of it to go to waste. “You like it?” I asked. “This is the kind of recipe that needs to be pinned to the front page of the blog, with flashing lights and arrows.” Well, then. I don’t think he’s ever given any meal a compliment like that.

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