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This classic grilled rice dish from Spain seems intimidating, but making it on the stovetop couldn’t be simpler—no grill needed. While the combination of ingredients ranges from the traditional rabbit and snails to vegetables and seafood, this version, known as paella mixta, contains seafood, Spanish chorizo, and chicken. But the key to this dish is the rice: fluffy but not too moist, with the prized layer of crusty caramelized rice, called socarrat, on the bottom of the pan. Round out your Spanish-themed meal with sangría and a watercress-Manchego-membrillo salad.
Special equipment: This dish is named after the two-handled pan it is cooked in. You will need a 15-inch paella pan because its wide surface area ensures that the rice cooks in a thin, even layer.
What to buy: Spanish chorizo (not to be confused with its Mexican counterpart) is a dried, smoked, ready-to-eat pork sausage. It can be mild or spicy, and is found at gourmet markets or online. If you can’t find Spanish chorizo, you can sub in some andouille sausage.
Paella rice, sometimes labeled bomba or Valencia, is a white short-grain rice prized for its ability to stay firm when cooked. It can be found in gourmet grocery stores. If you can’t find paella rice, Arborio rice can be substituted, although the texture will be slightly softer when cooked.
Game plan: If want to try making paella on the grill, use this Grilled Paella Mixta recipe.