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I've not been fortunate enough yet to experience true Paella cooked over burning orange tree embers in it's home land of Valencia, Spain, but this recipe does it's best. Be sure to use smoked paprika, (pimenton in Spanish). Regular American or Hungarian paprika will not do. Also be sure to use Spanish chorizo and not the Mexican style for this dish. My seafood paella uses shrimp, clams and lobster claws, but honestly any combination of shellfish and/or fish filet will do.

Preparation Time: 1 hour 30 minutes    Serving Size: 4-6

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 1 and 2
  • 2 ounces Spanish chorizo, casing removed, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon roasted red peppers, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice (or Spanish Bomba if you can find it)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium stock; shrimp, seafood, chicken or any combination
  • 3/4 pound 21/30 count shrimp, shelled and deveined, leaving tail on
  • 1 pound fresh littlenecks clams
  • 2 lobster claws or one 4-ounce lobster tail, steamed, shelled, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) frozen peas

In a large, heavy, straight-sided skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the cubed chorizo and sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan and add the chopped onions. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minute more, or until garlic just starts to color. Stir in pureed tomatoes and minced roasted red peppers. Add smoked paprika, saffron, salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Add the rice and quickly stir to coat, evenly spreading the rice over bottom of the pan. Carefully pour in the stock, evenly redistributing any disturbed rice, and quickly bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and allow to simmer, undisturbed, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. When most of the liquid is absorbed, remove the lid from the skillet and quickly arrange the shrimp and clams decoratively on top of the rice without disturbing it. Place the cover back on and allow to cook over medium-low heat until clams open and shrimp is cooked through, about 10 minutes. (Discard any unopened clams). Sprinkle peas, browned chorizo and lobster pieces over the entire dish. Turn the heat off, place the lid back on and let sit undisturbed, 5-10 minutes. Not only should all the liquid be absorbed, but you should also have a slight crust of rice on the bottom of the pan.

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