Paella may be one of the most popular rice recipes coming from Spain. And Paella Valenciana is amongst the most popular variations! This one pot paella recipe is brought together with a wonderfully hearty mix of chicken and seafood.
This seafood paella Valenciana is warm, hearty, and just plain ol’ delicious!
I love eating paella. And one of my favorite things about it is how many different ways there are to make it. Honestly, no two Paella Valenciana recipes will be alike, and I love that.
What is traditional Paella Valenciana
Paella Valenciana is, simply put, paella from the Valencia region – it is generally considered to be the most authentic and traditional version of paella. Which begs the question, what is paella? Paella (meaning “frying pan”) is a Spanish rice dish made using a variety of ingredients. The rice is noticeably yellow due to the use of saffron in the recipe.
Authentic Paella Valenciana
What ‘authentic’ paella Valenciana is comprised of has been a debated issue. As with many traditional rice dishes, every family has a separate way of preparing their “authentic” version of paella Valenciana.
The ingredients vary from household to household but the premise remains the same, a delicious Spanish rice dish filled with a variety of flavors. Many accounts of authentic Spanish paella Valenciana list chicken, rabbit, and varieties of Spanish green beans as the original ingredients.
By that account, this paella recipe is probably not the most classical take as it involves a mixture of chicken and seafood (which is sometimes called paella mixta or “mixed paella”, or paella de marisco “seafood paella”).
However, this version was shown to me and referred to as an authentic paella Valenciana by a lovely Spanish chef, and out of respect to her, I’m calling it a (Seafood) Paella Valenciana too.
Paellas use quite a few different ingredients (don’t skimp, or you risk losing that hearty paella feel!), but they come together wonderfully.
- Olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Red bell pepper
- Saffron powder
- Long grain rice
- Seafood stock
- Roasted red peppers
How to make Seafood Paella Valenciana
While there are several ingredients involved in making a paella, there are thankfully only a few steps required to make this delicious chicken and seafood paella.
Start by heating a paellera (or any large flat skillet) over a medium-high heat and adding olive oil. Once it’s hot, add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper and saffron (this is called the sofrito, and forms the base of your paella’s flavor).
Cook for around ten minutes, stirring frequently until the mixture becomes fragrant. Push the sofrito to one side (or, if your pan isn’t large enough, you can move the mixture to another bowl temporarily), add the chopped chicken and cook until golden brown. Set the chicken aside.
Add the rice to your paellera, and cook for two to three minutes, mixing with the paella sofrito already in the pan. Add the seafood stock, season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the stock begins to boil, add in the calamari, shrimp, mussels, roasted red peppers, and peas.
Cook at low to medium heat for approximately fifteen minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked through. (The fish often cooks quicker than the rice, but double-check your seafood is cooked too please!) Mix the cooked chicken back into your paella.
Garnish with parsley (and maybe a touch of olive oil if you’re feeling extra indulgent) and a smile!
Tips for a great seafood paella
One of the best things about one pot recipes like this paella Valenciana with seafood is that it can come together in one pot, or rather, a single paellera . That said, if you don’t have a specialized paella pan, you can use a large, flat nonstick pan. Make sure it’s large and flat – a deep saucepan may prevent some of the required evaporation. It’s good to use a skillet that’s on the thinner side as well, as thicker pans tend to hold more heat, potentially overcooking your paella dinner!
For added benefit, set aside a ladleful of the seafood stock. Pour it in after the initial amount of stock has been mostly absorbed. This helps to make sure nothing in the pan has been missed and left uncooked!
If you’re not sure that your paella rice has cooked through, simply try a spoon from the edge of the paella dish. The rice the farthest from the center of the dish (you know, where the heat usually is) cooks slowest.
Don’t forget to spoon out the crispy socarrat from the bottom of the pan! The ‘crust’ of a paella is often considered the best part! If you find that a socarrat doesn’t naturaly occur when you cook this paella with seafood, try bumping up the heat to high for the last one minute of cooking!
What rice to use for paella Valenciana
Traditionally, there are two popular types of rice used to cook paellas: bomba and senia. While you’ll find a lot of restaurant chefs opt for senia, you’ll find that bomba rice is a little more forgiving. I find that senia is very easy to overcook.
If neither of these is available to you, opt for a long grain rice. Short grain options like arborio rice tend not to provide the best results.
Yeesh! There are said to be hundreds of paella variations. So let’s keep this simple…you can mix up the components of this recipe quite easily. Don’t like calamari? No worries, swap it out for a little smoked sausage. Not a fan of chicken? That’s cool, omit it completely. Don’t like rice? Umm…your hair looks great today!
And if you want more seafood, try adding clams. If you want a meaty protein, chorizo is a popular option.
If you’re looking to spice up your paella Vallenciana, you have a few options. Start by adding spice through paprika, or chilli flakes. Alternatively, if you’re using a homemade broth (or stock), make it a spicier one.
One of the great things about paella is that it goes well with almost everything. Whenever we whip up seafood paella at home, we like to also prepare the potato frittata with goat’s cheese as a yummy side.
A simple salad is always an easy option, though I would opt for something like green beans.
A lovely bread such as focaccia would work well too!
And once you’re done with your paella, how’s about a San Sebastien Basque Cheesecake for dessert?
Storing paella with seafood
This seafood paella can be refrigerated in an airtight container for one to two days.
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And that’s it for today, bestie! What did you think? Have you tried a Valencian paella (with or without seafood) before? Let me know in the comments below.Print