The crispy, caramelised bottom (the socarrat) is arguably the best part of paella. Not to mention the amazing flavours throughout the entire dish. What's more awesome is that you can create this at home without a paella pan! This chicken and chorizo paella recipe is cooked using a simple non-stick, shallow pan, a staple in most households.
Look at that lovely golden and caramelised slab of rice from the bottom of the pan. This is what paella is all about!
Alright, let's get into it.
- Short grain rice very very important! The authentic rice to use for paella is the Spanish bomba. If you're like me and have not been able to find the Spanish bomba at your local supermarkets, it's all good. You can use other types of short grain rice such as sushi rice or as I have, Sunrice's medium grain rice. Both of these absorb flavours extremely well. The only type of rice to avoid is long grain varieties. Long grain rice once cooked, come out separated and are not sticky enough to attach to other ingredients.
- Chicken thighs do not recommend using chicken breasts as it'll get very tough and dry.
- Chorizo is a fermented, cured Spanish sausage made of pork. They are spiced with paprika and are really tasty! Love chorizo? Check out my Chicken and Chorizo Pasta Bake! Or feel free to add chorizo into this weekend brunch favourite, Shakshuka with Feta.
- Chicken stock use either homemade stock or stock powder. Can substitute with vegetable stock.
This is how you make it
It takes about 45 minutes to make this chicken and chorizo paella and thus it can easily be a delicious weeknight dinner or a family dinner on a relaxing Sunday.
How to get the paella bottom crispy
For the bottom to crips up and caramelised, get generous with the extra virgin olive oil. Luckily it's one of the healthiest oils. Oh, and turn up the heat!
Once the peas have been added and mixed through the rice, turn the heat up to high. Let it cook, undisturbed for about 4 to 5 minutes. Take a small peek by lifting the edge of the pan with a spatular and see if the bottom has started to turn golden. The cue to check is when you start hearing the little sizzling sound from the pan. That's when you know the magic is happening. Just make sure you keep both eyes on it as you don't want to burn the bottom too much!
Tips for making a great paella
- Get generous with the extra virgin olive oil. This will help with crisping and caramelising the bottom of the pan.
- Brown the chorizo and chicken. Crucial for depth and complexity of flavour.
- Add paprika whilst the chorizo is being sauteed on high heat. This will help 'waken' the fragrant spice up and add another layer of flavour.
- Cook uncovered. Important as it'll help the liquids to evaporate and prevent the rice from turning mushy. You want to rice to be sticky and at the same time, has the slightest bite to it. This will also help with getting the bottom crispy.
- Let it be, don't stir. Save the stirring for the next time you're making risotto. Leaving it undisturbed will stop it from turning mushy and is crucial for the caramelised, crispy bottom.
- Rinse the rice beforehand. This step removes excess rice starch and stops the rice from turning gummy. I don't see this step in a lot of paella recipes however, it's a technique I find works really well. Rice just tastes so much better when it had been rinsed before it's cooked. No matter the cooking method. Actually, except risotto. We want it creamy so high starch content will help with that.
Good to know (FAQs)
Saffron adds a lightly sweet, earthy flavour and great colour to a paella. Being the most expensive spice out there, it's not used in this otherwise relatively budget-friendly recipe.
Since there are so much flavour and colour already in this chicken and chorizo paella recipe, it's absence is not missed quite frankly.
Nope! You just need a wide, shallow pan. An aluminium or just a regular skillet will be fine too. One thing to keep in mind is if your pan is quite heavy-based (like my Tefal pan), make sure to really crank up the heat.
The thinner the pan, the easier it is for heat to transfer and thus the easier for a crispy bottom. Once the crispiness is achieved and heat turned off, the pan cools much faster (than heavy-based) and thus cooking process stops.
If like me, you're not a pan scrubbing fan, use a non-stick pan.
Made this chicken and chorizo paella recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you 🙂
Chicken and Chorizo Paella
- Paella pan or a shallow, wide frying pan
- 500 g /1lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless ~4 large thighs, cut into rough 2.5cm/1inch cubes
- 1 chorizo halved lengthways then cut into 1cm/½inch thick pieces
- 1 red capsicum/pepper finely diced
- 1½ cups short-grain rice rinsed (note 1)
- 1 can diced tomatoes 400g/14oz
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups hot chicken stock vegetable stock is okay too
- ½ cup white wine (note 2)
- 1 onion finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1½ tsp paprika
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- In a large shallow frying pan (or a paella pan, if you have one), add 2 tbsp of olive oil, onions and garlic. Saute on medium heat for about 2 minutes or until onions becomes translucent.
- Add chorizo, capsicum/pepper and paprika. Saute on high heat for about 5 minutes or until chorizo blisters and caramelises.
- Push the chorizo and capsicum mixture to the rims of the pan, making room for the chicken. Add remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil and add chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Saute on high heat for about 3 minutes. Chicken should be browned but still raw on the inside.
- Add rice, saute for 1 minute then pour in white wine. Allow wine to be reduced and absorbed by the rice. Stirring constantly, this will take about 3 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes and hot stock. Bring it up to boil then reduce heat down to medium and cook for 15 minutes. No lid and no need to stir throughout this time. (note 3)
- By now, most of the liquids should have been absorbed. Mix in peas and stir through.
- Turn the heat back up to high and allow the bottom of the pan to start caramelising and rice crisp up. About 4 - 5 minutes.
- To serve, sprinkle fresh parsley on top.
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