Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Eric Makes Paella

Written by Patti on May 4th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

This past Saturday, my angel of a husband tackled making paella for 7 of us. Armed with a recipe given to us by our dear Chioke (who coaxed it out of a chef in Barcelona!), Eric took to the kitchen like a man on a mission. And it was a mission – feed 7 hungry friends.

First up, get the oil in the pan hot:

Caution - Super Hot Oil!

Then, make the sofrito. What’s sofrito you ask? It’s a saute’ of onions, garlic, and parsley. Pretty easy. And pretty, too.

Mmmm, Sofrito Makes The House Smell Heavenly!

Then, add your rice.

Doesn't It Look Good Already?

And then 50 cups of water – I’m just checking to see if you are paying attention! We cut this recipe back to serve 8, so about 4.5 cups of water here:

A Sea of Rice and Water, Waiting To Turn Magically Into Paella

While Eric was busy cooking, I was busy setting the table. My knockout roses are, well, a Knockout! I cut these from the front yard, where they are a riot of color.

Almost Like Barcelona...

And borrowed that adorable napkin trick I recently shared with you. Tell me what you think.

Like A Sweet Bowtie

And then our friends showed up. Right on time!

Bestie Holly

Taruan Shows Oscar Some Love

Check out Taruan’s tee – it’s the StaPuft Marshmallow Man, only the head is Taruan. Love it!

The paella was incredible. How could I have not snapped a million pics of it?  It was so delicious we ate it before we thought about it. So sorry.

And then we broke out the Scrabble board and played til 1 a.m.  Chioke beat us all soundly.

Even though I didn’t get any photos of the paella, here is the recipe. This should feed 10-12. Please read the entire recipe before you start to make it yourself.  And you can always trade out some things. We didn’t have any spanish chorizo, so we used italian sausage. Lobster was too pricey, so we used octopus.  Use your imagination.

But just make it – you will make your mouth so happy!

Thank you, my darling Eric, for making it for us!

xoxo, Patti

PAELLA (Barcelona)

Spice Mix for chicken, recipe follows
1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut into 10 pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Spanish onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
4 cups short grain Spanish rice
6 cups water, warm
Generous pinch saffron threads
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 lobster tails
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
Lemon wedges, for serving

Special equipment:

Large paella pan or wide shallow skillet


Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve.

In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect.

Cook’s note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat.

Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon wedges.

Spice Mix for chicken:

* 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
* 2 teaspoons dried oregano
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken; marinate for 1 hour, covered


3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Patti says:

    Carrie, We LOVE paella. Bring it on, Sugar! Can’t wait! xoxo, Patti

  2. Scarlett says:

    Oh My Dear Heavens to Betsy!!! My mouth is watering!!!!!! I heart Paella!

  3. Patti says:

    @Miss Scarlett – We do a huge paella party for Labor Day. Join us?