This chicken and chorizo paella is easy to make, loaded with Spanish inspired flavours and is whipped up in one pot. It feels like a recipe that you want to save and make for a crowd at the weekend, but being a 30 minute paella recipe, you could easily make it during the week. It also works amazingly as meal prep!
The Spanish dish paella originated in Albufeira, a rural lagoon located next to Valencia. There are many types of paella, with the meat/seafood being interchangeable. Chicken and chorizo is a less traditional combination, but it’s definitely my favourite.
Traditional elements of a paella include:
The main reason that this recipe is more budget friendly, is that we use a tinyyyy bit of turmeric, as a saffron substitute. Saffron is super expensive and I find that I’m not looking for the flavour of saffron, I’m looking for the gorgeous yellow hue that it provides.
Now I don’t want you to be spooked and think this recipe will taste like turmeric. We’re using such a small amount for the quantity of other ingredients we’re using. It’s just enough to add a nice colour to the rice, giving it that stunning glow to this chicken and chorizo paella.
I love the tenderness of chicken thighs and think they work best for any Spanish paella.
The smokiness of the cured Spanish chorizo sausage, infuses into the base of the paella which seasons the whole paella. I always find that the fat that renders from chorizo when frying on a low heat, is so so flavourful and I think that’s why this chicken and chorizo paella recipe is my favourite.
I also like to choose a chorizo with a hint of spice, as this adds more depth of flavour.
Paella rice is a short grain rice that is cultivated in Eastern Spain. It absorbs moisture really well and is integral to the paella coming together perfectly.
For flavour, acidity and sweetness.
Lemon adds brightness and a mediterranean feel to the recipe.
A traditional component to a paella recipe but made even easier. I use frozen chopped mixed peppers which taste just as great, they’re frozen at prime freshness and no need for slicing!
The added greens for this recipe.
⅔’s of the sofrito that is the base for this recipe.
Start this easy paella recipe by adding the diced onion and olive oil into a large/deep non-stick frying pan on a low/medium heat. Season with salt and saute for around 3 minutes, until softened.
Then add the chopped chorizo into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes, adding the garlic in after the fat starts to render from the chorizo.
Add the rice, paprika, turmeric, and another pinch of salt and pepper.
Gently fry for a couple of minutes. This will toast the rice slightly and bloom the spices.
Next, pour the chopped tomatoes, chicken thighs and stock into the pan. Stir to incorporate everything and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover with a lid for 20 minutes.
After this time, stir the peppers and peas into the pan and pop the lid back on to cook for another 5 minutes.
At this point, everything will be cooked! Finish by squeezing the juice of half a lemon (or a whole depending on preference) into the pan and seasoning with salt if necessary. Enjoy!
Don’t stir your paella!
Except for when you add the ingredients, after you add the stock, you want to keep the stirring to a minimum. This will increase the sticky bits of rice at the bottom of the pan, which is called socarrat. When you add the peppers and peas, just make sure that the sticky bits aren’t turning into burnt bits.
Remove excess fat from chicken thighs
Due to the increased level of fat in chicken thighs, you usually get more visible fat attached to the meat. I like to trim this off as I don’t like the texture and it also reduces unnecessary fats, when the meat is already juicy and tender.
Ensure that the heat is well distributed on the bottom of the pan
As we aren’t moving the rice around a lot, we want to ensure that everything cooks evenly. You can do this by adjusting the placement of the burner every five minutes if you have a smaller hob. If you have a really good pan, the heat will transfer evenly anyway. This will make the best socarrat for your chicken and chorizo paella.
What rice should I use for paella?
You want to use a short-grain rice and in particular a paella rice. Most supermarkets label them ‘paella rice’ but if they are labeled with their more traditional name, you might see bomba rice or calasparra rice on the packaging. Both are the most commonly used paella rices.
Do I need a paella pan to make this recipe?
I use a regular deep/large non-stick frying pan for this recipe, not a paella pan. So this recipe is super accessible to everyone. Paella pans are great for distributing heat evenly and to get a large surface area of the pan at the base, but if you follow my tips above, you’ll still get a great end result.
Should I stir whilst cooking?
After the rice enters the pan, only stir to add in the other ingredients. This will maximise the socarrat as described above and as we are using a low/medium heat, this will prevent burning of the sticky bits at the bottom of the pan.
How do you reheat?
This paella is super easy to reheat. Simply add a serving to a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy. Refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.
Can you freeze paella?
Yes! Paella freezes well, which makes it perfect for meal prep. To defrost, leave a frozen serving of paella in the fridge overnight and then follow the reheat instructions above. We don’t want to defrost at room temperature in case the rice is left for too long.