Paella Valenciana

Paella Valenciana

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  • 5 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 8 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed, rolled smooth side out and secured with a toothpick, if desired.
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, seeded, peeled and diced or grated on a box grater
  • 2 cups short to medium-grained rice
  • 7 ounce can plain artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 half red bell pepper, roasted and sliced into strips (you may wish to roast the whole pepper and freeze the other half) see note at bottom of page
  • A few small rosemary sprigs, optional
  • Smoked paprika for sprinkling
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish, optional
  • Lemon wedges for serving, optional


Measure out four cups of broth and place in a bowl large enough to hold it.

Heat a small pan over medium-high heat. Add saffron and toast for just shy of a minute, watching closely, and leaving it in just until you begin to smell it. Immediately remove from pan and crush in a mortar, using a pestle or place saffron in a small bowl and crush between your fingers.

Add saffron to the broth, along with salt to taste and pepper. Taste. The broth will flavor the whole recipe and you’ll want to overcompensate just a bit with the salt and flavoring, keeping in mind the broth will be flavoring all the rice.

Heat about two to three tablespoons oil in a paella pan or large skillet over medium heat, then add the chicken pieces, rough side down (it helps them to hold together in a “roll”) and cook until golden brown. Turn over and continue to cook for several minutes, adjusting the thighs in the pan as needed, until the tops and sides are golden brown. Remove to a plate.

Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes, then add the garlic. As soon as the garlic becomes fragrant, add the rice. Stir for several minutes until rice becomes a little toasted. Add a little more oil if needed.

Add the four cups of broth and use a spatula to run across the rice, slightly evening it out. Do not stir. Add the chicken pieces back in, along with any juices, placing them how you’d like to see them in the finished dish. Place the drained artichoke hearts around the chicken, then add the strips of bell pepper. Place a few rosemary sprigs on top, if using.

Simmer uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is done, rotating and moving the pan as needed to provide heat to the pan in all areas. You may need to moisten the paella in several areas by slowly ladling in a bit of the reserved broth.

When rice is done (test carefully in several places, trying not to disturb the top too much) you may need to turn up the heat a little to form the socarrat. That’s the crispy, browned crust that should be forming at the bottom of the pan. Stop when you smell the rice “toasting” and when you hear a few “crackly” noises but before you smell any actual burning, and remove from the heat.

If the rice and chicken seem a little dry, cover the pan with a clean towel for just a minute or two. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, garnish with green onions and serve with the lemon wedges, if using.

Make sure to remove toothpicks or warn your guests to do so. A thin metal spatula makes an ideal serving tool, allowing one to scrape up the socarrat along with the rice.

To roast red bell peppers:

  • Quarter bell peppers from the stem to the end, discarding ribs and seeds. Place on a foil-lined sheet tray about four or five inches from broiler. Broil on high for several minutes, checking often, and remove as needed. When removed, place in a small bowl and cover with a clean towel.
  • After the peppers have steamed for around 5 minutes (or longer) peel off the skin.

Keywords: Bell Peppers, Chicken, Chicken Thighs, complete skillet meal, Freezes Well, Green Onion, Meal Prep, Paella, Rice, Saffron, Tomatoes.

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