A Taste of Spain by Curtis Stone

Impress dinner guests at your next summer party by serving paella — a classic one-dish meal.

Photo by Quentin Bacon

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With its centuries of tradition and many ingredients, paella can seem a bit intimidating, but it is actually simple to make at home. The Spanish dish is traditionally cooked outdoors over an open flame, but I first learned to make paella in the oven, and I have stuck with this foolproof, utterly delicious version.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella takes a familiar chicken and rice dish and turns up the volume. The spices and the addition of chorizo, a Spanish sausage made with paprika, take me back to Spain.

Choose a starchy medium-grain rice so the paella sticks together when it’s being spooned up. Saffron gives the dish its distinctive flavor and color; however, you just need a few threads — a little of this spice goes a long way.

The pan used to make paella — a paellera — gave the dish its name. The shallow-sloped sides of a pan help the rice cook evenly, allowing flavors to develop more intensely. If you don’t have one, a 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet works just as well.

Unlike many other rice dishes, paella should always be cooked uncovered, which helps the rice retain its signature al dente texture.

Paella is a communal dish that is meant to be shared with friends and family. Crisp and refreshing, sangria pairs well with paella. Make it in advance and then store it in the refrigerator so when guests arrive, all you have to do is add ice.

Photo by Quentin Bacon

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

(Makes 4 servings)

4 to 6 chicken drumsticks
2    tablespoons olive oil
8    ounces smoked Spanish chorizo links, casings removed,
cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds or wedges
1    yellow onion, finely chopped
1    red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
5    garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
Large pinch of saffron threads
2    cups medium-grain white rice,
such as Spanish Calasparra
or Italian Arborio, or a domestic
brand, such as Goya
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken
1    medium tomato, halved,
seeded, and finely diced
2    tablespoons chopped fresh
flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat paella pan or 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to plate.

Reduce heat to medium, add chorizo to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until browned. Add onions, bell peppers, garlic, paprika, and saffron and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Add rice and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until rice is coated with olive oil and mixture looks dry.

Stir in broth, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Return chicken to pan, arranging in single, evenly spaced layer. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer.

Transfer pan to oven and bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until rice is tender and chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced at bone with tip of small sharp knife. A sign of good baked paella is crisp rice around the sides of the pan. Let stand at room temperature to allow rice to settle for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle paella with diced tomato and parsley and serve hot.

Per serving

Calories: 905
Total Fat: 41 g
Saturated Fat: 12 g
Sodium:  1500 mg
Carbohydrate: 82 g
Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 48 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 5 starch, 6 lean
meat, 1.5 vegetables, 6 fat

Photo by Quentin Bacon


(Makes 4-6 servings)

1    bottle light and fruity Rioja
Beaujolais wine
1/2 cup Cointreau (or other
orange liqueur)
1/4 cup brandy
2    Fuji apples, quartered, cored
and thinly sliced
1    ruby-red grapefruit,
quartered and thinly sliced
2    Valencia oranges, quartered
and thinly sliced
1    lemon, quartered and thinly
1    lime, quartered and thinly

Stir all ingredients in large pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Stir in the ice cubes. Drink and be merry!

Per serving

Calories: 274
Total Fat: 0 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 6 mg
Carbohydrate: 30 g
Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 0 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 0.25
carbohydrate, 1 alcohol, 1.25 fruit

Get a taste of Curtis Stone’s Green Beans and Radishes with Chimichurri at saturdayeveningpost.com/gbrchimi.


Reprinted from Relaxed Cooking With Curtis Stone by Curtis Stone. Copyright © 2009 by Curtis Stone. Excerpted with permission of Clarkson Potter. All Rights Reserved; Photos by Quentin Bacon

This article is featured in the May/June 2023 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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