Home Kitchen: paella

A skillet of seafood paella cutout into a circle on a pink background.

Soho House Toronto’s Executive Chef, Andrew LeBlanc, teaches us how to make a traditional Spanish seafood paella recipe.

Serves six 
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

1/4 tsp saffron threads (a small pinch)
40ml olive oil
1 whole Spanish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
10g smoked paprika
2 cups Bomba rice (round/ short-grain rice, even Arborio works)
1.5l stock, user’s choice (try to match the accompanying protein)
12oz mild Italian sausage – chorizo or andouille works well, too
1/2lb fresh or frozen shrimps, de-veined and de-shelled 
1lb fresh mussels
3 whole bell peppers, cut into medium-sized chunks
75g frozen peas
Couple of sprigs of fresh parsley

1. Steep the saffron in stock on a medium heat.
2. In a 15-inch paella pan or large skillet (cast iron works best, but it can be done in a large frying pan), heat the olive oil on a medium-high heat and add the onions to cook slowly. Once translucent, add the garlic and paprika, and cook until fragrant – about two minutes. Then, add the peppers.
3. Add the rice and cook for about a minute, or until evenly coated with oil. Add the hot stock and stir the rice gently, making sure it is evenly spread. Try to do this in one go – you don’t want to stir it constantly, as you want to develop what is called the ‘socarrat’, the delicious crispy bottom. Instead of stirring the rice after distributing it evenly, rotate the pan until the liquid is half absorbed – around 15 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to low, add the sausage, shrimps and mussels (hinge side down), and turn halfway through to allow even cooking and ensure all the liquid is absorbed – around 20 minutes. 
5. Scatter the peas on top, and let the paella sit until they have thawed – roughly two minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.
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