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The Secret of Our Seafood Paella

Stephanie Golub
Dec 26, 2022

When it comes to one-pan wonders, it doesn't get better than paella. This Spanish staple is typically served up with fluffy saffron rice, succulent seafood, vibrant veggies, and smoky paprika. One of the (many) pros of paella is that it’s completely customizable. Vegetarian? Swap sausage for chickpeas! If you’re a big fan of fiery flavor, add Anaheim chiles to the mix. When we took a stab at our own Shrimp & Andouille Paella, we focused on fragrant spices, plump shrimp, and subtle kicks of heat. 

The History of Paella 

Paella was born in the Spanish port city of Valencia. Being one of the largest rice-producing areas in the country, it was only fitting that the region include this grain as the base of its signature meal. In the 19th century, farmhands and laborers would prepare paella for lunchtime over a wood burning fire. It was exceptionally easy to put together, as they would use whatever local produce was on hand in the rice fields. Snails, onions, tomatoes, beans, rabbit, and duck were popular add-ins, all cooked together and eaten out of one big pan. As for the name itself, paella is said to have derived from the Latin word for pan, patella. 

What Makes for the Perfect Freshly Paella?

The Base: Long grain rice
The Protein:
Andouille sausage and shrimp
The Fixings:
Red Peppers, onions, tomatoes
The Stock:
Chicken base
The Spices:
Tumeric, garlic, paprika, parsley, oregano, and lemon zest

The Perfect Pairing 

A spicy seafood paella pairs well with crisp, light wines. To prevent you from perpetually pacing up and down your local liquor store’s aisles, we’ll point you in the right direction. A dry rosé, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc will balance out the paella’s flavors without being too overpowering. If you’re craving the feeling of a cocktail but don’t want the buzz, mix cranberry or pomegranate juice with bubbly seltzer. 

Don’t get us wrong—we’re definitely pumped for the paella, but our dessert rec might be just as delicious. You may have spotted this fried sweet treat at a country fair or carnival, but its origin can actually be traced back to Spain. Churros are long pieces of dough, deep fried until crispy and then smothered in cinnamon sugar. (Yes, they are as sublime as they sound.) If you’re vegan, simply omit the eggs and switch to plant-based butter to cook up a very convincing alternative. 

Whether you’re hosting a party with pals or want a simple date-night dinner for two, whip up paella. Ask your friends or fam what ingredients they want, and tailor your dish to whatever their hearts’ desire. If you’re super short on time, try out our seafood and sausage version! Either way, a weeknight paella will never disappoint. 

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The Secret of Our Seafood Paella