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Chicken and Chorizo Paella

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Full of traditional flavors, fresh vegetables, and perfectly cooked rice, this chicken and chorizo paella is the meal to eat when you want a hearty Spanish-inspired dish.

Cooked chicken paella with chorizo and topped with lemon slices.

What is Paella?

Traditionally, paella is an authentic Spanish dish that originated in the rice-growing areas on Spain’s Mediterranean coast near Valencia, Spain. It’s made from saffron yellow rice (arroz) mixed with seafood, meat, and vegetables.

The rice cooks slowly in a large pan or casserole dish over low heat. Water, stock, or wine is added, the pot covered, and the dish is simmered until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.

One thing to note about traditional authentic paella is that it is typically served in Spain only at lunchtime.

This recipe does not take as long as traditional paella and it probably breaks a few other “rules,” too. But that’s alright. Feel free to make this and eat it for lunch or dinner. You’re the cook and it’s your choice. (Just don’t go to Spain and expect to have it for dinner.)

Serving 4-6 people, this Spanish chorizo and chicken paella is a great recipe to have in your back pocket for a tasty weekend lunch.

Let’s look at how to make this Spanish classic dish in your kitchen.

Ingredients

For this Spanish rice dish, you need the following:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, sliced into ½-inch thick and 2-3-inch-long pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning the chicken
  • 6 ounces Spanish chorizo with the casing removed and sliced into ½-inch slices
  • 1 green pepper (about 1 cup once diced)
  • ½ medium white onion (about 1 cup once diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 5 – 6 Spanish saffron threads
  • 1 ½ cups paella rice (see below)
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
Ingredients to make chicken paella with chorizo.

What kind of rice do you use in paella?

For paella, short-grain rice is the way to go. There is a variety of rice grown in Spain where the dish originated, but they are all “round” (short-grain). Rice varieties that work in paella include bomba, paella, or arborio. You might even find “Valencia rice” at your local store.

How To Make Chicken and Chorizo Paella

  • Combine saffron and ¼ cup chicken broth. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat then add chicken. Season chicken with salt.
Cooked chicken in a Cuisinart metal skillet.
  • Cook until the chicken is no longer pink stirring often, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and set aside for later.
  • Add chorizo, green pepper, and onion to the skillet and cook for 6-7 minutes or until the veggies are soft and the chorizo starts to caramelize.
Onions, peppers, and chorizo in a skillet.
  • Add garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, paprika, turmeric, What to serve with it and stir and cook for another minute.
  • Add rice and cook for another 2-3 minutes then add the chicken back to the pan along with tomato sauce and peas. Stir to combine.
English peas, chicken and sauce in a skillet.
  • Pour all of the chicken broth into the rice mixture and stir. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low medium, cover, and let it cook for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is soft and cooked through.
Chicken paella cooking in a skillet.
  • Serve with lemon wedges and freshly minced parsley for garnish if desired.

This paella can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

If you are familiar with Vietnamese cooking, you know that crispy rice in the bottom of a clay pot is delicious. It’s the same with paella. The crispy rice at the bottom of the dish is called socarrat. If you use a cast iron pan or non-stick skillet, odds are good that you will not get to experience the delicacy.

Why is saffron so expensive?

Saffron is harvested by hand from the saffron crocus. This labor-intensive process requires careful attention and care. Saffron threads are also very delicate. To preserve the precious spice, it must be dried immediately after harvesting. The most expensive spice, it takes 75,000 saffron flowers to make one pound of saffron spice.


Like chicken and rice? Be sure to check out our recipe for Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole with Ritz Cracker Topping.

Cooked chicken paella with chorizo and topped with lemon slices.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Full of traditional flavors, fresh vegetables and perfectly cooked rice, this chicken and chorizo paella is the meal everyone deserves to eat with friends and family.
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Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 647kcal

Equipment

  • Large Skillet

Ingredients

  • 5-6 strands of Spanish saffron
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breasts sliced into ½ inch thick and 2-3-inch-long pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt plus additional for seasoning the chicken
  • 6 ounces Spanish chorizo with the casing removed and sliced into ½-inch slices
  • 1 green pepper (about 1 cup once diced)
  • ½ medium white onion (about 1 cup once diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ cups rice (bomba, paella, or arborio)
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Instructions

  • Combine saffron and ¼ cup chicken broth.  Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat then add chicken. Season generously with salt.
  • Cook until the chicken is no longer pink stirring often, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and set aside for later.
  • Add chorizo, green pepper, and onion to the skillet and cook for 6-7 minutes or until the veggies are soft and the chorizo starts to caramelize.
  • Add garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, paprika, turmeric and stir and cook for another minute.
  • Add rice and cook for another 2-3 minutes then add the chicken back to the pan along with tomato sauce and peas. Stir to combine.
  • Pour all of the chicken broth in to the rice mixture and stir. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low medium, cover, and let it cook for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is soft and cooked through.
  • Serve with lemon wedges and freshly minced parsley for garnish if desired.

Notes

This paella can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 647kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 1276mg | Potassium: 987mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1066IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 4mg
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Bowls of chicken paella and lemon slices.

Be sure to come back and tell us how your paella turned out!

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