Original Paella

(Recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World)

Chicken Stock: 3.5 cups
Saffron Threads: 1.0 pinch
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 3.0 Tbs
Onion, Minced: 1.0 medium
Rice, Short/Medium Grain: 2.0 cups
Shrimp, Cut Up: 2.0 cups
Salt, Pepper: to taste
Parsley: for garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 500 F, and warm the stock with the saffron.

Heat oil in 10-12 inch overproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook until translucent (4-5 minutes).

Add the rice and cook until “glossy” (whcih I take to mean “all the grains are well coated with oil”), 1-2 minutes.

Add salt, pepper, stock, and shrimp. Stir to distribute shrimp evenly.

Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is dry on top.

We made this last night, omitting the onion because it aggravates Kate’s heartburn (mine, too, at least in principle, but I can drink beer to compensate…). Also, I didn’t know what I was going to make for dinner, so I didn’t actually buy an onion when I was at the store.

Even without the onion, this is very tasty, and dead simple. If I were making it for company, I’d put the onion in, and brine the shrimp before peeling and chopping them, but it was pretty good as is. For just us, I might replace a cup or two of the stock with water (Kate thought the chicken stock flavor was a little too strong, and added some Parmesan cheese to cut it down a bit), but this was a very successful recipe.

(Alternatively, I might try it with a different sort of stock. I wonder how it would be with dashi (Japanese fish/ seaweed stock, which is the other thing I have on hand…)?)


  1. #1 Scott Belyea
    February 25, 2007

    Ah, the scientific approach …

    1.0 pinch

    Accurate to within 1/10 of a pinch! :-)

  2. #2 Kate Nepveu
    February 25, 2007

    Yes, surely that should be “Medium Onion, Minced: 1.0”?

    Also, the Parmesan works very well, and so there’d be no need to cut down the stock if you like it as is.

    Yay, good and easy food.

  3. #3 chezjake
    February 25, 2007

    The dashi should work, as should canned clam broth. (Most traditional Spanish versions usually include either clams or mussels, and often some chorizo sausage.) I’d also be tempted to hold out the shrimp for half the cooking time to avoid overcooking them.

  4. #4 Mike Bruce
    February 26, 2007

    I’ve made this, and it is indeed delicious. We used shrimp, chorizo and scallops, rather than just shrimp.

    We weren’t exactly working from the Bittman recipe directly; we just made it up from memory after having seen someone else cook it. But I think that’s the original source.

  5. #5 Anne
    February 26, 2007

    Bruce: Yes, that was the original source. And it is seriously good with Andouille sausage (and shrimp) as well. Mike and I are addicted to this stuff because the seven-yr-old actually likes it and it takes about five minutes of actual time to make, which is beyond perfect for a weeknight dinner.

  6. #6 Mike Bruce
    February 26, 2007

    Anne: we’ll have to try the andouille. This version of paella really is awfully easy and convenient. And tasty. A perfect combination for eating at home more.

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