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Chicken and Chorizo Paella

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Bring the flavors of Spain to your table with this Chicken and Chorizo Paella. Our recipe guides you through making sofrito, choosing the right rice, and achieving that coveted socarrat (crispy, caramelized layer) to make an impressive and delicious one-pan dinner. This dish captures the essence of Spanish cooking while being totally doable in your own kitchen.

A large skillet filled with chicken and chorizo paella with lemon wedges on top.

Here is Why This Paella Recipe Works

  1. Easily Customizable: The beauty of this paella is its versatility. Vegetables can be swapped out based on what’s in season.
  2. Perfect for Gathering: Paella is not just a meal; it’s an experience. It’s a dish that’s meant to be shared, making it perfect for gatherings. 
  3. Advance prep: You can make the flavor packed sofrito 2 to 3 days in advance. I often make a double batch and add the sofrito to other recipes like ground beef tacos, enchiladas, or even soups for instant flavor. 

The Paella Ingredients

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Meat: Chicken and Spanish chorizo sausage.
  • Herbs and spices: saffron threads, smoked paprika, bay leaves. salt, pepper, 
  • Pantry: paella rice, broth, canned tomatoes, a jar of roasted red peppers, olive oil
  • Produce: onion, garlic, red pepper, lemon, parsley
  • Freezer: green peas
Ingredients for the chicken and chorizo paella: chicken, chorizo, broth, peas, lemon, parsley, rice, saffron, roasted bell pepper.

Ingredients for the sofrito: bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, and oil.

About the Sofrito

Ah, the sofrito—this seemingly simple mix of ingredients like onions, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers is really the unsung hero of this paella. Think of it as the backbone of the dish, giving depth and complexity to every bite. It is a great flavor foundation for a variety of dishes and especially this paella. 

Tip: The sofrito can be made a day or more in advance. It will keep in the refrigerator, in a covered container for 2-3 days.

How to Make Chorizo Chicken Paella

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Make the Sofrito: Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, red pepper, and bay leaves. Simmer until thick.
  2. Prep the Meat: Brown the chicken and chorizo in olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Combine: Add the sofrito, saffron water, and spices to the pan. Stir in the rice.
  4. Cook: Add the broth, bring to a boil, and top with chicken and chorizo. Lower the heat and cook without stirring.
  5. Finish: Add green peas and let the paella sit covered for 10 minutes.
Cooking the sofrito mixture down in a skillet.
Adding the rice to the skillet.
Adding the broth to the skillet with paella rice.

Variations 

  1. Veggie Overload: Load up on extra veggies like zucchini, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms. 
  2. Swap the chicken: You can use chicken breasts instead of thighs but keep in mind that the breasts might dry out more quickly.
  3. Add extra herbs and spices: Mix in a handful of fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme to or add cayenne or red chili flakes for a little heat. 
  4. Cheesy paella: When the paella is almost done, sprinkle a layer of shredded Manchego or Mozzarella cheese on top.
A spoon scooping chicken and chorizo paella out of a pan.

Tips for Success

  • Soak the saffron threads in warm water before adding them to your dish. This maximizes their color and flavor.
  • Cook the sofrito until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency.
  • Warm your broth before adding it to the paella. This helps the rice cook evenly and absorb all the lovely flavors.
  • For the perfect paella, choose rice varieties like Bomba, Calasparra, Valencia, or Delta del Ebro. If unavailable, Arborio and Calrose make excellent substitutes. While not traditional, they work in a pinch. 
  • Don’t stir the paella during the last few minutes. You want to let it form a crispy, caramelized crust (socarrat) on the bottom of the pan. But don’t let it burn, either. Use a spoon to take a peak at the bottom of the pan to make sure it isn’t getting too dark. 

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving the chicken and chorizo paella, all you need is some crusty sourdough bread and a salad. Try our arugula burrata salad or blackberry feta salad

For dessert, try a flanred wine poached pears, or a fruit and cheese platter. 

Storage and Reheating

In the fridge: Store any leftover paella in an airtight container for 2-3 days. 

In the freezer: Paella can be frozen for up to 3 months. Let it cool down before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. 

Reheating: Place the paella in an oven-safe dish and heat it up on low temperature, stirring occasionally. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave. 

More One Skillet Recipes

A bowl with a serving of chicken and chorizo paella with a glass of wine in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute the paella rice with another type of rice?

The short answer is yes, but different rice varieties have varying starch content and cooking times. Short-grain rice works best for paella, and Bomba rice will make it more authentic. However, if you want to break the rules, just keep in mind that the texture will be different with a different type of rice. 

Is there a specific type of chorizo I should use for paella?

Spanish chorizo is the traditional choice, offering a blend of smoked paprika, garlic, and herbs that give it a distinct flavor. If you can’t find Spanish chorizo, Kielbasa, or Andouille sausage will work even though they are not authentic. 

What can I do if I don’t have a paella pan?

You don’t need a paella pan. Just make sure you have a wide skillet that is at least 12 inches in diameter. 

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A large skillet filled with chicken chorizo paella.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Bring the flavors of Spain to your table with this Chicken Chorizo Paella. Our recipe guides you through making sofrito, choosing the right rice, and achieving that coveted socarrat (crispy, caramelized layer) to make an impressive and delicious one-pan dinner.

Ingredients

For the Sofrito:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finally diced or grated
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 bay leaves

Paella:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-½ inch pieces
  • 5 Spanish chorizo sausage links, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups paella rice (see notes)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 roasted red peppers from a jar, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 oz. package frozen green peas, thawed
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
  • Lemon wedges to serve

Instructions

For the Sofrito:

  1. In a skillet set over low heat add the olive oil and the onions. Cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, do not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, diced red pepper and the bay leaves.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally for 30 to 45 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and jammy. Transfer the skillet from the heat, remove and discard the bay leaves. Reserve the sofrito until needed. 

For the Paella:

  1. Using a large paella pan or a 15-inch cast iron brasier or skillet, set over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering.  Add half of the chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes until golden in color. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.
  2. Add the chorizo slices and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and reserve. Pour off and discard the remaining oil in the pan.
  3. Transfer the sofrito to the pan. Combine the saffron threads with the water and add to the pan with the paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine, coating the rice grains with the sofrito.  
  4. Pour in the hot broth and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil. Arrange the red pepper, chicken, and chorizo on the top.
  5. Shake the pan gently or stir to distribute the rice evenly. From this point on, don't stir the paella (you want it to form a caramelized crust on the bottom).
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 30 minutes without stirring. Take a peak after 15 to 20 minutes to make sure the bottom isn't getting too dark. You want a crispy crust to form, but you don't want it to burn. Push some of the rice aside with a spoon to check the bottom. Turn the heat down if it gets too dark. If the pan is larger than your burner, rotate the pan so it cooks evenly.
  7. Remove from the heat and add the green peas, stirring into the upper portion of the rice.  Cover the pan and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  
  8. Serve directly from the pan. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

Notes

  • If you want to nail that perfect paella, look for the following rice: Bomba, Calasparra, Valencia, or Delta del Ebro. These rice varieties often come in packages with labels that say they are perfect for paella.
  • If you can't find any of the above-listed rice, some good alternatives are Arborio and Calrose. While it's not traditional for paella, they make it a reasonable substitute in a pinch.
  • Cook the sofrito until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture becomes thick and jam-like.
  • The sofrito can be made a day or more in advance. It will keep in the refrigerator, in a covered container for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Tip: Make a double batch and save some for instant flavor in other recipes.
  • Do not stir the paella as it cooks so that it will (hopefully) form a socarrat. A socarrat is the crisp, caramelized crust that forms on the bottom of the pan.
  • The thawed peas will cook in the residual heat during the last 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 525Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 162mgSodium: 1396mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 38g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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