Paella Recipe | BBC Good Food

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Paella: A Journey Through Sunny Spain in a Pan

Paella. The very word conjures up images of sun-drenched Spanish beaches, vibrant fiestas, and the intoxicating aroma of saffron-infused rice. This iconic dish, originating from Valencia on Spain’s eastern coast, is more than just a meal; it’s a celebration of fresh, seasonal ingredients and communal dining.


Today, we’re embarking on a culinary adventure to recreate this Spanish masterpiece in your own kitchen. So, grab your paella pan (or a large skillet if you don’t have one), gather your favorite seafood and chicken, and let’s get cooking!


(Serves 4-6 people)

1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 cup (200g) bomba rice (or short-grain sushi rice)
  • 4 cups (1L) hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ pound (250g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ pound (250 g) mussels, debearded and rinsed
  • 8 large prawns, peeled and deveined (shells reserved, optional)
  • 1 cup (150g) frozen peas
  • ½ lemon, cut into wedges
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Sauté the aromatics: Heat the olive oil in a large paella pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic, paprika, turmeric, and saffron, and cook for another minute, allowing the flavors to bloom.

    2. Toast the rice: Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it with the spiced oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice becomes slightly translucent.

    3. Simmer with stock: Pour in the hot stock, bay leaf, and thyme. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover the pan tightly, and cook undisturbed for 10 minutes.

    4. Add the chicken: After 10 minutes, carefully arrange the chicken pieces on top of the rice without disturbing the layer beneath. Don’t stir! Cook for another 5 minutes.

    5. Incorporate the seafood: Now comes the moment for the stars of the show – the seafood! Gently distribute the mussels and prawns over the paella, making sure they’re nestled partially in the rice. Scatter the frozen peas on top. Optional: If you saved the prawn shells, you can now lay them on the surface of the paella for extra flavor. Cover the pan again and simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the mussels have opened, the prawns are opaque throughout, and the rice is cooked through.

    6. The final touch: Once the paella is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Let it rest for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld further. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of fresh parsley, and enjoy!

    Nutrition Facts:

    (Per serving)

    Calories: 550-600 kcal

  • Protein: 40-45g
  • Fat: 20-25g
  • Carbohydrates: 60-65g
  • Sodium: 500-600mg (depending on the added salt)

  • Note: These are approximate values and can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.


    Paella is a dish that is meant to be shared and savored. The combination of tender chicken, succulent seafood, and fluffy saffron rice creates a symphony of textures and flavors that will transport you straight to the heart of Spain. So next time you’re looking for a delicious and impressive meal to wow your guests, look no further than this classic paella recipe.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. What kind of rice can I use for paella?

    Bomba rice is the traditional choice for paella, known for its ability to absorb all the flavorful broth without becoming mushy. However, if you can’t find bomba rice, short-grain sushi rice is a good substitute.

    2. Can I make paella without seafood?