Paella, Because I’m Just Mad About Saffron!

I remember the first time I had Paella it was on a school trip to New York, so long ago that it is just a faded memory.  Spanish class had taken a field trip and lunch was at a Spanish restaurant where we sampled Paella.  Through the years I had Paella when ever I found it on a menu, but it wasn’t until a trip to Nice that I really learned to appreciate the dish.

Paella is a rustic Spanish dish  but one that can also be found on the finest tables around the Mediterranean.  Classic Paella is made with Saffron, infusing rice with the flavor and color that only comes from that delicate pistole of the Saffron Crocus.  Saffron has always been one of the most expensive spices in all the world, but luckily you can find it in very small quantities at specialty stores.
It is not something you will use as an everyday spice, but its definitely worth the expense for special occasions and a few special dishes!

Now I can’t claim it was a special occasion, just a chance to celebrate life, and to remember how lucky we are to be able to enjoy a dish like this for no reason at all.  My wife has come to expect a variety of foods since I have been blogging, most much simpler, but I try to have one very special meal at least once a week.
Since we don’t eat out very often, the expense doesn’t seem quite so much, I always try to think of how much dinner would have been if we had eaten the same meal out….so in that respect I am saving us money!

What I do try to do is incorporate other foods we are having during the week for lunch or dinner, and that helps bring the cost of the dish down, if you can think of it in those terms.  We have clams once a week so I pull 10 out of the bag, if we have mussels for lunch one day I pull 10 out of that bag.  That still leaves us with more than enough for the meals, and gives me extra seafood to work with to come up with those extra special meals.  You only need a few shrimp and scallops for the dish and those you can buy by the piece which will come to less than a half pound each.  Chicken and sausage are not too expensive, so the only other cost you have to worry about is the saffron.

Now it doesn’t seem quite so bad when you think of it in those terms does it?  At least that’s my logical approach to it!  In any event, if you can make it, please try it, you certainly would wow any guests that might be over for dinner, just serve it with some homemade sangria and you’ll be living!

Paella (serves 2-3)
2 cups long grain riced
1 small onion diced
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cups chicken stock
10-12 strands of saffron

6 large shrimp
4 large scallops
8-10 little neck clams
8-10 mussels
4 chicken legs
1/2 lb sausage of your choice
1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

Start by first browning the chicken legs and the sausage.  Coat the chicken legs in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and add them to a large skillet to brown on all sides.
After removing the chicken add the sausage and brown that too.
Neither the chicken or the sausage have to be cooked completely, but they should be at least 3/4 done.
Set the chicken and the sausage aside until later.

In the same large skillet ( do not wash it out, just remove any extra grease if need be) add the olive oil, onion, and rice.  Allow the onion to saute while gently toasting the rice for about 5 minutes
Add in the chicken stock and the saffron and mix well, allow the liquid to start to boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to slowly cook for 15- 20 minutes.

At this time the rice will be almost done, mix in the saffron a little more without disturbing the rice too much, and then add your seafood, chicken and sausage to the top of the rice, cover and allow to continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the clams and mussels have opened and the scallops are completely cooked.

The flavors from the juices of the seafood , chicken and sausage will add so much to the dish, making it a symphony of flavors!

Gently remove the seafood, chicken and sausage from the pan and begin by serving a good portion of rice in a bowl, then add all of the other ingredients on top of the rice to make a spectacular presentation.
Although this dish needs no help in being delicious, we do eat with our eyes!  It certainly won’t hurt to make it pretty!

There you have my take on a classic Spanish dish, that really isn’t difficult to make but is definitely a show stopper!  Next time your planning a party, why not give Paella a try, I know your guests will be happy you did!

At this time I would like to announce the winners of Dories “Around my French Table“, that’s right I did say winners!  So many of you wanted to win that cookbook that I ordered another one, so there were two numbers picked by the random number generator and the first winner is Roxana from A Little Bit of Everything  and the second number picked was Gina from What’s For Dinner Across State Lines
Congratulations to both of you, I can’t wait to see what you make first from this wonderful cookbook!

So if you ladies will be kind enough to email me with your addresses I will get the books off to you in the mail!

That’s about it for now, I hope everyone had a chance to get out and enjoy the weekend, I am so happy to see daylight lasting longer, now I can get back outside to take pictures!  So my friends, thank you so much for stopping by and for your support, I do appreciate it.
Have a great week and remember!

Share Your Knowledge – Together We Are Stronger


  1. Dionne Baldwin @ Try Anything Once says:

    I have never had paella *OR* saffron but from the look Yannick gave me when I asked "if it's good" I bet I'd love it. Not that I think you would ever give a bad recommendation…this looks and sounds crazy good!

    Blogging definitely inspires us to try some pretty interesting things, doesn't it?

    Congratulations on your win, Gina & Roxana!

  2. Rebecca from Chow and Chatter says:

    its on my to do list looks great

  3. Your paella looks spectacular, Dennis! And you're so right about the expense not being bad compared to eating out. Plus your paella, I'm sure, is much better than what you would get at most restaurants!

    Your wife is very lucky! 🙂

  4. I've been wanting to make paella lately and now I have the recipe. Thanks! We have a great restaurant in Santa Barbara that has "Paella Night" every Wednesday which includes sangria, salad, paella, chocolate covered strawberries and live Spanish music. It's so fun.

  5. Cooking Rookie says:

    Simply beautiful!

  6. Paella is one of my favorite dishes and yours looks fantastic! I think it's due time to try this dish again!

  7. Catherine says:

    This looks perfect with all of the ingredients I love. Beautiful! Blessings, Catherine

  8. Jennifer-Adventuresome Kitchen says:

    gasp*- I love saffron! I lived in Spain 20 years ago and this was one of the first things I ever learned how to cook! Your pictures look like a perfect dish, and now I'm a little bit nostalgic. Thanks for reminding me of a lifechanging experience!

  9. mmmm…Chef, this brings me back to that little restaurant on the Mediterranian in Barcelona…food does allow us to travel without leaving the house. We also get to try new things without spending too much money at restaurants. Great looking paella!! Great memories!! So worth the effort and the cost. Thank you for the reminder.

  10. Boulder Locavore says:

    'They call me Mellow Yellow'…you're a sly one on the title! How many of your readers know Donovan do we think? I too LOVE saffron and paella. Love all the flavors, texture and colors. Brought some home from Barcelona with a paella pan and love using it! Will be trying Chef D's recipe next.

  11. Wow! It looks great. One of my favourite pieces of kitchen equipment is my paellera which is a great dinner party centrepiece. Now that it's cooling down here in Sydney, I'll be making paella again at home soon. It needn't be only for special, with the original Valencian paella being made only with chicken, but of course with scallops and mussels it's a real treat, and yours certainly looks delicious!

  12. Brooks Walker says:

    I adore what saffron does to rice and as a star ingredient in paella, it makes for a memorable meal. From the look of your dish, I can almost smell the fragrant aromatics clear across the country!

  13. The Mom Chef says:

    Oh, congratulations Roxana and Gina. I ADORE my copy of Dorie's book!

    Chef, your paella is fantastic. It's been a while since I had any and so I think I need to borrow me a pan and get another batch going. Such good, good stuff.

  14. scrambledhenfruit says:

    Gorgeous paella! I won a paella pan last spring in a giveaway, and I have yet to use it. With this inspiration though, I might just be able to pull it off. 🙂

  15. A little bit of everything says:

    OMG I won. i can't believe it. Thank You Chef for this giveaway, can't wait to receive it. So excited.
    Congrats to Gina too.
    the paella looks so good. thanks for sharing

  16. Dennis, I love paella, and yours looks so yummy. I have never had it with chicken, but I am sure it tasted delicious. In Dominican Republic we do something similiar, with meat, seafood or pork, called locrio. When I post it one day I'll let you know.

  17. Andrea the Kitchen Witch says:

    The bright colors is what have always attracted me to paella, and yet I've never tried it!! It sounds and looks delicious. You and I think alike Chef, I figure if we were eating out it'd cost a LOT more than it does to make it at home. And most of the time the home results are tastier (and certainly healthier!) than the restaurants version. Kudos on another beautiful dish!

  18. Chef Dennis…the paella looks scrumptious…mmmm those clams and scallop and shrimps…awwww that is a real treat alright which I think you and wife deserves 🙂 I would like to try this out for sure..wait till the Piggies are back ! It is always cheaper to cook from home but at times we want to be pamper too and give the chef at home time off :p

    Congrats to Roxana and Gina for winning the book 🙂

    Have a nice day Chef !,

  19. Bromography says:

    I first fell in love with paella while visiting Ecuador. I have never tried to prepare it myself, though. I think I have to now!

  20. thecompletecookbook says:

    Chef, how clever to keep a little bit back with your clams and mussels and what an outstanding paella.
    🙂 Mandy

  21. Food, Fun and Life in the Charente says:

    When in France I make paella quite often but I don't use saffron, too expensive for me I am afraid. When I get back I must put my recipe up on my blog. It is nice to compare. Diane

  22. Wow, Dennis, your version looks fabulous!! My mom made Julia Child's paella for our family in the t970's…and I've been a fan ever since. Your photos are drool-worthy…gorgeous!!!

  23. Michael Toa says:

    What a beautiful paella chef. Love the golden colour from the saffron. It's an expensive spice but definitely worth it.
    Have a nice day.

  24. jose manuel says:

    Una buena paella es un manjar.


  25. the constant hunger says:

    Great post title. I've been toying with the idea of making a paella for a couple of weeks, but all the recipes I've researched seem so difficult. Yours seems very straight-forward. Thanks!

  26. A Thought For Food says:

    Congratulations to the winners of Dorie's wonderful book!

    With my new found love for saffron, I'm going to have to give this recipe a shot… though I know i'll go crazy for it. Your recipes are always so delicious.

  27. Ok, this looks like pure heaven in a dish. I love ALL of the above. Love it!

  28. I love paella. I never make it at home because I think its too complicated and time consumming. You make it seem so simple. I love it! Thanks for posting this recipe.

  29. ravienomnoms says:

    Wow that looks incredible

  30. Rowena @ Saraplicious! Kitchen says:

    I love Paella. I once made it with Tumeric because I was being cheap and didn't want to shell out some money for Saffron. Bad move. The worst Paella I had was at the Palomino Restaurant in HI. I remember paying $35 for it in 2002. It was a compelte waste of money. The $14 Paella that I get at a Cuban restaurant here was 10x better. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I'm going to have to try it.

  31. Parsley Sage says:

    So good! We had paella for the first time in Barcelona and pretty much OD-ed on the stuff! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  32. lostpastremembered says:

    There is a trick to it, though. Most of the paellas I've had in the US have been horribly overcooked so that no amount of saffron could fix the stinky rubbery fish. A great paella is all about timing. There's a joint in Chelsea (NYC) that is all about proper paella with that magic crust, soccarat… GREAT. Good tips on making it less pricey… a little here, a little there and you're done!

  33. I have never made Paella, either, but yours looks divine. We'll have try it. My husband and I haven't been eating out much lately, because we can make better food and get better service, and save money:)

  34. Pretend Chef says:

    I really love the amount of love you put into your dinners with your wife. I find that to be such a romantic gesture. I would love to give this a try. When it comes to homecooked meals I don't worry about the expense because I know where my money is going and how much healthier my meals are going to be. I get to see everything that goes into the meal. Worth every penny to sit down and enjoy a meal as a family!

  35. Babinella says:

    hi chef!!! i went to spain a month ago and i tried their authentic saffron! the saffron was pretty tasty and pungent!

    but when my Persian friend gave me a bag of IRANIAN saffron, OMGGGGGGGG!!! it was just a whole new different level of saffron!!! the taste, the after taste and everything! it adds a whole new level of flavor to the paella!!!

  36. anniebakes says:

    Oh Dennis, this looks wonderful and I love Paella with saffron too!! anne

  37. I've never attempted paella, I think I am scared to because people who do it well have really MASTERED it. But yours looks so good, perhaps I should reconsider.

  38. Cheryl and Adam @ says:

    Adam grew up eating Paella in Spain ans Peru and it is one of his favorite dishes. I've been wanting to surprise him and you have provided a great recipe to help me do that! And you're right with a little thought this can be quite an economical dish, especially as in our household we could easily get a couple of meals out of it. The costliest thing of course would be the saffron, but you've got to splurge somewhere, right?

  39. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says:

    Woo hoo, I won, Thank You so much! I'm doing the electric slide across my kitchen right now. Congrats to Roxan too. I can't wait to read it. Your paella is so beautiful, you are right, you can go light on the seafood and save money. I really don't believe it. Thanks again, I hope you have a great week.

  40. Congrats to the winners…this paella has to be good with all the seafood ingredients in it! Lovely photos!

  41. Susie Bee on Maui says:

    I've never tackled paella but had friends who had a huge paella pan and they made it every few months. Yours looks divine (great photos!).

    Congrats to the cookbook winners (jealous).

  42. a. maren says:

    oh, this looks wonderful! such cute little clams! i will have to start saving to make it 🙂

  43. Wendy Irene says:

    Oh my goodness, I have never heard of Paella! It sounds like my cup of tea. I too can't wait to see what Roxana makes from the book! Have a lovely day Chef Dennis!

  44. Jill Colonna says:

    Isn't it funny how you can remember vividly food memories like that? Your paella looks wonderful and can almost smell it from here!

  45. I grew up with paella, as our family holiday home is in Spain, and it has always been a firm favourite. I've never made my own, however, as it always seemed such a lot of work! Yours inspires me to want to do my Spanish childhood justice, though 😉

    Sad I didn't get to see you and the missus in NY, but it was my fault – I was running around like a headless chicken on speed! Next time, or you could come for a visit my way 😀

    Jax x

  46. mywanderingspoon says:

    Amazing looking dish and flavors, what can I say….brilliant:)

  47. Yum! I've been looking for a new paella recipe and this one looks great! Can't wait to try!

  48. Kim - Liv Life says:

    My mother adores saffron, however, she won't touch anything relating to sea food. Well, maybe shrimp, but nothing else. If is swims, it's not her thing.
    I on the other hand have never made paella, but love it! Thanks for the recipe.
    Congrats to Gina and Roxan! I'm eagerly awaiting their first post from the book too! (nothing like a little pressure… huh??)

  49. La Sopa de Tomate says:

    look amazing I love paella and all rice dishes

  50. What lovely paella Denis!! I adore saffron! huggs gloria

  51. Chris's Gourmet Fashion says:

    I love paella and yours looks simply delicious!

  52. sara @ CaffeIna says:

    After having had paella non-stop in Spain, I find myself craving for it but not always been able to get satisfied when I order it in restaurant. I need to try your recipe because it looks delicious. What a great way to start the week, Chef!

  53. Christina of Form V Artisan says:

    This just brought me right back to Barcelona…where I'd like to be eating paella with a tall glass of rioja….like right now!

  54. Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking says:

    I've been wanting to try paella for so long… What a wonderful recipe, Dennis! This looks so delicious, and I know my family and I would be so happy to share a meal like this together. Thanks for sharing your recipe and inspiring me to try something new!

  55. The paella is so pretty! My sister gave me saffron for Christmas! I've thinking about making some sort of sweet saffron shortbread, but maybe I should just stick with tradition! You make it look so tasty!

  56. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Saffron is wonderful and your paella looks terrific!

  57. Hi Chef! This goes down on the list for the birthday dinner in a month! Today while doing the grocery shopping I kept putting a box of mussels in , then taking out , not knowing what to do with them. Now have to head back to the store again!

  58. Mikaela Cowles says:

    Trader Joe's carries their own saffron and it's not only tasty it's incredibly well priced. Much cheaper than anywhere else I have found.

  59. Torviewtoronto says:

    flavourful paella we enjoy it yours look delicious and beautiful with these seafood

  60. Spicie Foodie says:

    Paella is one of those dishes that everyone must try and will fall in love with. It's on my top favorite dishes ever. You're inspiring me to give it a try instead of always going out for it. Looks amazing Dennis.

  61. Spicie Foodie says:

    Paella is one of those dishes that everyone must try and will fall in love with. It's on my top favorite dishes ever. You're inspiring me to give it a try instead of always going out for it. Looks amazing Dennis.

  62. unfortunately i am one of the few who have yet to try paella- if i could magically get my spoon through the computer screen and grab a plateful of this masterpiece, i know i would be in heaven! i have a hunch that i will be trying paella as soon as i can get my hands on some… i just only hope it will taste at least partially as good as i know yours does! 🙂

  63. I love saffron. Simply love it. I tried a 'quick and easy' paella this year but it wasn't good at all. Hard to waste real saffron on that. >.> This on the other hand looks awesome. Ill never forget my first paella, but that's a whole other story…

  64. Lemons and Anchovies says:

    That's the best reason to celebrate of all–just because. You certainly picked the right dish for it, too. I couldn't get enough paella when I visited Spain. Sadly, even there, there was a good number of bad ones, too. So much better to make it at home. Yours looks perfect.

    Love the look of your blog, too, Dennis. 🙂

  65. The Harried Cook says:

    Your paella looks incredible! The seafood on top looks so inviting! 🙂

    I love saffron too & we use a lot of it here in India… Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

  66. You and I justify expensive ingredients the very same way. I figure we are always going to save money by eating at home. I need to get my hands on some of those saffron threads. I want to make paella now! Thanks for sharing your meal with me. This was a great way to end my Monday. I hope you have a safe and happy week!

  67. …saffron's mad about me:) My husband bought some and it's been in the pantry ever since, but now I'm inspired.

  68. Cakewhiz says:

    I haven't used saffron in anything aside from kheer ( an indian rice puddng). But, i have a small pack of it left over and i am thinking of using it in a savory dish such as yours….

  69. I have always loved paella. That looks wonderful.

  70. Tanantha P. says:

    I had a very good Paella in Spain. This brought back my good ol' memory!
    I like saffron too but too bad I don't get to cook with it as often as I've hoped for. Yeah, I should make this for my next party!

  71. citymouse says:

    I'm working on a paella post! I just made it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I have to admit I was a little nervous but since I actually requested (and got) a paella pan for Christmas, there was some pressure for me to deliver the goods. My recipe was a little different… a combo of several I looked at, but it turned out lovely, with no leftovers.

  72. Pacheco Patty says:

    Hi Chef, Paella=Party;-)And if I remember correctly you mentioned Sangria???
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful paella and have a great week!

  73. Kate @ says:

    Never tried paella and still waiting for someone to cook it for me haha ;-). Actually now I am so excited to get in the kitchen and make it… thank you chef for sharing this recipe with us.

  74. Anna Johnston says:

    I love Paella., in fact so much we've just bought ourselves a great big paella dish for entertaining. Yours looks wonderful Chef 🙂

  75. I think saffron is the superhero of spices! Lovely! ♥- Katrina

  76. I've just recently started getting into saffron and it is delightful! I've never had paella but I've been wanting to try it for several months now. Maybe when I get to Austin and have a better food selection I'll try my hand at it.

  77. Butrcreamblondi says:

    Dennis I love paella and yours looks fabulous! I always order it when I see it on a menu too!

  78. mangiabella says:

    a truly glorious meal Dennis…I LOVE saffron….trader joe's has a STEAL on saffron…(I am not the expert on saffron, so does anyone know if Trader Joe's is a good quality of saffron? sure fits the budget!) – and I couldn't agree more, eating at home, especially in this economy is favored in our house, and I don't mind splurging on "the high grade" quality ingredients hehe….

  79. Gourmantine says:

    Your paella looks great! Surprisingly the best paella I have had was not in Spain but also in South of France with everything from chicken – lamb and seafood in it!

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