Chorizo Seafood Paella

Robin first tasted paella in a cooking class in Bloomington, IN when we were graduate students. The dish was part of a class on Spanish Cuisine Specialties and her notes include that paella is typically a dish served on Thursdays in Madrid. Our version combines smoked chicken and turkey chorizo with mussels, shrimp, and squid for a comforting saffron-infused one-pot rice meal. We do not have the traditional paella pan, but our Dutch oven works beautifully.

Servings and Times

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

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We start the preparation for the paella by dicing a few vegetables and cleaning our rather “dirty” mussels. We have bought mussels before that were cultivated and they hardly needed more than a rinse, the ones tonight are a little more time-consuming.

The actual cooking starts with heating one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in our Dutch oven. While it heats, we defrost the frozen chorizo on the defrost setting of our microwave for a few minutes. When the chorizo is defrosted, we slice it and add to the Dutch oven. We cook for about five minutes – until both sides are getting crispy – and remove to a small plate.

We add the onions to the chorizo-infused oil and cook for three minutes. Meanwhile, we dice our red pepper, yielding a generous ½ cup. We add to the softened onions and cook another two minutes. While the vegetables are softening, we mince our garlic with some kosher salt, then add to the onions and peppers. We stir in for 30 seconds until we can smell the garlic and then we add the tomatoes. We scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and then add the rest of the oil and then the rice. We stir well to cook each grain of rice with the oil and vegetable mixture.

We add the saffron to the chicken stock in a large measuring cup and cook in the microwave for two minutes (while we continue to stir the rice) to heat the stock and infuse it with the saffron flavor. We add the hot stock and saffron to the rice, cover, and cook for 15 minutes over medium-low heat, undisturbed.

While the rice is cooking, we defrost the shrimp and squid according to package directions and make sure the mussels are cleaned and closed.

After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, we add the chorizo, mussels and shrimp decoratively to the top without stirring the rice. We re-cover and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. We then uncover, turn the shrimp over, replace the lid, and cook for a few more minutes, covered. Most of the mussels are open at this time, the shrimp are cooked, the rice is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed.

We nestle in the squid rings and top with the peas and parsley, cover again, and cook for another couple of minutes. Then we turn off the heat and set the paella aside for 5 minutes to finish cooking.

We remove the paella to a serving platter, (although we probably should have just brought the pot to the table), discarding any mussels that do not open. We garnish the paella with more parsley and serve with lemon slices and additional salt.

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