Humble Paella

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 11.29.49 AMI was once accused by Catalans near Valencia — which is the home of paella — of knowing nothing whatsoever about paella, and of making at best what they called “arroz con cosas”: rice with things.

Fine. My culinary heritage is so limited that almost everything I make is an adaptation. But my rice with things is better than just about any other I’ve had in the United States. And to make real paella, you probably should start with a wood fire; anything else is a compromise.

Anyway, paella really is just rice with things — as is risotto, as is pilaf. There’s a technique to it, and it’s pretty straightforward, and by applying that technique to a variety of ingredients in a variety of ways, you can make something that really approaches great paella, even if a Catalan might scoff at it.

Read the rest of this article here, and get the master recipe here.

Posted in Recipes, Spanish


  1. Adriana Faerman said...

    Paella is one of my favorite dishes. I love entertaining my friends and making all types of Paella. It is very versatile.

  2. Nancy L said...

    My favorite paella recipe is from one of the Craig Claiborne’s Favorites, which he got from a former First Lady of Panama. I’ve made it for 30+ years and it just gets better every time! He garnishes the finished dish with an outer ring of thawed green peas, strips of pimento, chopped parsley, and lemon wedges. (I add a cup of bottled clam juice for more flavor.)

  3. jake said...

    I LOVE this recipe, MARK, and i have been a failure at all rice recipes BUT rissotto up to now. Luckily i used shrimp chorizo and roast chicken left overs… It was BEE YOND good! Thanks, you rock!

  4. mark jones said...

    In addition to having dined on paella numerous times in Madrid and Barcelona, I had a brief fling with a woman from Spain named Pilar Gonzalez (Spanish enough for you?). She cooked paella in my house in Westchester and taught me how to make it. You left out several key ingredients such as green olives and pimentos, but the most key element of all is garlic, and lots of it. She made a point of emphasizing that you put the garlic in later after the rice starts to cook so the flavor stays more intense.

  5. sheila okin said...

    Mark: I have all your cookbooks and have truly loved following all your recipes; however, after cooking your paella recipe (NYTimes 4/14) and adding my favorites (sausage/ chicken/ shrimp/ scallops/etc.) in addition to my frozen chicken stock (which I heated beforehand), the rice turned out like risotto (was this supposed to happen?). My husband HATES risotto, but loves paella. I slaved for 2 hrs !! Although I have no problems with the dish, I wanted it to be more “restaurant” style. Any suggestions?
    “Common a My House for More Paella”

  6. Mike Downs said...

    Thank you for the paella recipe. I never made paella before and with beginner’s luck I even got the socarrat. I made it with shrimp, onion, black olives and portobello mushrooms. It was great and my girlfriend and I ate way too much!

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