Paella Valenciana


1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound chicken thighs, skin removed, boned and cut into quarters
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound chorizo sausage or hot Italian link sausage, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
12 large shrimp (13-15 counr), shelled and deviened
1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons thyme
1 onion chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters lengthwise then cut into 1/2 inch slices crosswise
1 cup white wine
1 cup clam juice
1 cup Tomato Sauce (see page 222)
1/8 teaspoon saffron powder or turmeric
2 1/2 cups converted long-grain rice
2 cups Chicken Stock (see page 225)
24 clams, cleaned
24 mussels, cleaned and de-bearded


Serves 10 To 12

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place the large (4 quart) casserole dish in the oven to preheat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper on the chicken thighs. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saute pan set on high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Cook the chicken thighs until well browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the same pan and cook the sausage over high heat until browned, about 1-2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to the same bowl with the chicken.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the shrimp over high heat until they begin to turn pink, about 1-2 minutes. Don't overcook the shrimp as it will continue to cook in the paella. With a slotted spoon, remove to a small bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes, until it begins to brown and release some of its fat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, onion and bell pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the wine, clam juice, tomato sauce, saffron or turmeric, rice and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until the rice begins to absorb some of the liquid.

Remove the heated casserole dish from the oven. Transfer the bubbling rice mixture from the pan to the casserole dish and stir in the chicken stock. Add the reserved browned chicken and sausage and mix well. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Remove from the oven and stir in the reserved shrimp. Arrange the clams and mussels on top of the rice. Cover the casserole dish and return to the oven for 10 minutes longer, until the clams and mussels have opened. Discard any that don't.

Bring the casserole dish to the table so everyone can serve themselves.

Wine Suggestion - Merlot