Recipe courtesy of Lionel Freitas, Jr.

Fire Pit Paella with Portuguese Sausage, Crab and Escargot

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 3 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1/2 cup olive oil

2 large sweet onions, chopped

10 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds Portuguese linguica, casing removed

3/4 cup white wine

2 large whole tomatoes, chopped

4 cups short-grain rice (recommended: Bomba or Calasparra)

Lionel's Seasoning, recipe follows or use store-bought

10 cups simmered chicken stock, recipe follows or canned chicken stock*

1 1/2 dozen escargot, removed from shell

Chicken meat from chicken used to make the stock

1 1/2 pounds whole prawns, shell-on and deveined

1 1/2 pounds mussels, cleaned

1 1/2 pounds clams, cleaned

1 pound baby scallops

1 pound halibut checks (only if fresh is available) cut into 2-inch bite-size pieces

1 whole Dungeness crab, cleaned with legs broken off (add the fat from crab to paella if you like)

1 jar roasted red pepper strips

1 small package frozen peas

2 dozen hard-boiled quail eggs

Piri piri sauce, to taste, optional

4 lemons quartered, for garnish

Lionel's Seasoning:

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon smoked black pepper

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon sea salt (recommended: Hawaiian Alaea)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Lionel's Chicken Stock:

1 (3-pound) whole fryer chicken, split in 4 pieces

1 gallon water

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 sprigs rosemary

3 sprigs thyme

1 large sweet onion, chopped

4 pieces chicken bones

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (recommended: Hawaiian Alaea)

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads


  1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high. 
  2. Put a 17-inch paella pan on the grill. Add the olive oil and when the oil is smoking, add the onions and saute until the onions are translucent about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and linguica breaking it down into small pieces. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and the seasoning blend and saute until the rice is coated, about 2 minutes. 
  3. Once the rice is completely coated add the chicken stock. When the liquid starts to boil reduce heat to a simmer. If using a charcoal grill this should happen naturally as you progress, if not adjust the height by moving your pan away from the heat. When the liquid is at a simmer start adding the seafood; escargot, chicken, and all the shellfish, halibut and crab, spreading them throughout the pan. You are not going to be moving the ingredients in the pan so make sure they are evenly distributed. 
  4. Spread the red pepper strips, frozen peas, and hard-boiled quail eggs throughout the surface of the paella. Add the piri piri sauce into the paella if you like an extra kick. 
  5. When all the ingredients are in the pan the cook time should be 20 minutes. You will know when the liquid is fully absorbed, clams and mussel shells are open, and the rice is just past al dente. 
  6. Remove the pan from the heat. Put lemon quarters into the pan, cover with a couple of dish towels and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Lionel's Seasoning:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Amounts can be adjusted to your liking.

Lionel's Chicken Stock:

  1. Put the chicken in a large stock pot and cover with the water. Bring the water to boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a rolling simmer. Cook the chicken until completely tender, about 45 minutes. 
  2. Remove chicken from the pot to a bowl or platter and let cool. Continue simmering the water in pot. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it off the bone and set aside. Reserve some of the chicken bones. The chicken will be used in the paella at a later time. 
  3. In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, rosemary, and thyme. Once the oil is fragrant add the onions and chicken bones and saute for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, salt, peppercorns and saffron. Add the simmering water that was used to cook the chicken. Simmer the stock for at least 2 hours, skimming the fat from the surface. Strain the stock and keep warm until ready to use. 

Cook’s Note

If using canned stock simmer with the saffron threads for at least 1 hour before use.