Perfect for beach dinner parties, paella feeds a crowd, is fun to cook, and is easy to serve straight from the pan. A chilled dry rosé from Navarra or Rioja complements paella quite nicely.

Serves 10

  • 1 whole pastured chicken cut into 10 pieces (cut it with the bones in)
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, diced (dark green tops removed)
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced (reserve the stalks and fronds for the stock)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cups Bomba rice (short-grain Arborio can be substituted)
  • 8 cups warm stock, divided (recipe follows)
  • 3 roasted garlic bulbs (with skins on, rub with oil and roast at 400 degrees for 35 minutes)
  • 24 littleneck clams
  • 1/2 pound white fish (such as fluke or flounder)
  • 1/2 pound chorizo, diced
  • 24 mussels
  • 24 shrimp, size 16/20 (sustainable shrimp can be difficult to find, but baby Maine shrimp can be sprinkled in just before serving)
  • 2 cups vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces if necessary (depending on what is available, use green beans, zucchini, corn, or peas)
  • 1/8 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/8 cup chopped chives
  • 2 lemons

1. Rub the chicken parts with smoked paprika and salt. Heat 1 cup olive oil in the paella pan. Sear and cook the chicken about 15 minutes, until deep golden brown. Remove and set aside (cover with clean towel to prevent it from getting sandy if you’re cooking on the beach).

2. Add 1/2 cup olive oil to the pan by pouring it in a circular motion around the pan until it pools nicely in the center. To make the sofrito, the sautéed vegetables that provide the flavor base, add minced garlic, onion, leek, fennel, and red pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, and sauté sofrito ingredients until cooked through and beginning to caramelize.

3. Add the rice and cook, stirring until the rice begins to show transparency around the edges, about 5 minutes (add more olive oil if the rice is dry). Spread the rice evenly around the pan and pour half the warm stock over the rice. Add whole roasted garlic bulbs and chicken, and cook 20 minutes, adding liquid as needed as the rice soaks up the stock. Add clams (hinge-side down), fish, and chorizo, and cook 20 minutes. Add mussels (hinge-side down), shrimp, and vegetables. Add more stock as needed. Simmer until rice is cooked, tending fire and rotating pan as needed. At this point, you do not need to stir anything.

4. As soon as stock is absorbed, check to make sure all foods are cooked through and/or shells are open. If not, add a bit more stock. Then cover with foil and put a towel on top of the foil. This is the tricky part: To get the rice to toast on the bottom of the pan to develop the essential crust called the socarrat, it’s important not to add too much stock. You should smell the toasting of the rice when it’s done.

5. Unveil the paella and sprinkle with fresh herbs and squeeze lemon juice on top. Serve immediately, or cover with foil and a towel and let rest up to 1 hour.

Stock for Paella

  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 1 pound mussels, in their shells
  • 36–48 shrimp shells
  • 3 pounds leeks, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound celery, roughly chopped
  • Stalks and fronds from 1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • A few bay leaves
  • 3 gallons water
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) white wine such as Sauvignon blanc
  • 1 pound chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout

1. In a large pot without a lid, bring the first eight ingredients and the water to a low boil, then simmer over low heat for two hours. Strain out the solids. (If you leave the solids in too long, it becomes cloudy and bitter.)

2. Return the stock to the pot, add wine, and simmer for another hour, until the stock is reduced by one half.

3. Add tomatoes, saffron, and ras el hanout.

The following recipe was published with the article, Beach Party Paella.