Grilled Paella with Chicken, Chorizo, Shrimp and Mussels

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 40 min
  • Active: 1 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
The beauty to grilling your paella is that a grill has more room for a large paella pan than a stovetop. You will have more even heat distribution on the bottom of the pan, which helps create a beautiful socarrat, also known as the caramelized crispy rice on the bottom of a paella.



Special equipment:
15-inch paella pan
  1. Preheat a grill to medium on one side and medium high on the other side. If using charcoal, stack the briquettes so they are layered at least halfway up to the grates.
  2. Remove 4 wide strips of zest from the lemons, then cut the lemons in half and set aside. Combine the chicken broth, lemon zest strips and the saffron in a medium saucepan. Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact, then add the shells to the saucepan. Devein the shrimp, place in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to grill. Heat the broth mixture over medium-low heat until steaming; cook 25 to 30 minutes, reducing the heat as needed if the broth starts to simmer. Strain into a large measuring cup or heatproof container.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the bell pepper, onion, tomatoes and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Put the chicken in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the smoked paprika.
  4. Grill the lemon halves and chicken over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until the lemon halves are charred, 3 to 5 minutes, and the chicken skin is golden brown and crisp, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  5. Meanwhile, set a 15-inch paella pan on the grill grates over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato mixture, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices have almost evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is evaporated, 3 to 4 more minutes. Add the rice and a big pinch of salt; stir to combine and toast lightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the strained broth and stir to combine. Close the grill and cook without stirring, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, until the rice is plumped and about half of the liquid is absorbed, 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Stir in the olives and peas. Nestle the chicken, shrimp and mussels in the rice. Grill, covered and rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, until the shrimp and chicken are cooked through and the mussels have opened, 10 to 20 more minutes (discard any mussels that do not open).
  7. Remove the paella from the grill and top with the parsley. Serve with the grilled lemon halves.

Cook’s Note

A 15-inch paella pan is essential for making this dish. The wide flat base allows the liquid to evaporate quickly so a crust will form on the bottom.