Betty Rocker's Delicious Party Paella

"I have a sort of new tradition with my friends where I host "crappy" dinner parties. They're "crappy" in the sense that I am not going to worry over-much about how clean the house is, and the plates will be paper, and you have to bring your own wine, and hopefully some amazing specialty of your own to share -- there's no formal seating, and things will probably start loose and stay loose. ANYWAY. Last time we had a crappy dinner party I got a wild hair to make paella. I had a lb of bomba rice from Kalustyan's in NYC, but you can use arborio. I made up the recipe from looking at several different ones online and adapting for not having a real paella pan. It came out ridic -- a showstopper. It will stay ridic for a good amount of time too as long as you cover it tightly, so you can finish it and put it to the side for a bit. The leftovers are also sooo good. Labor-intensive but fun and worth it. We were having so much fun I forgot to take a picture of the finished product."
photo by Betty Rocker photo by Betty Rocker
photo by Betty Rocker
photo by Betty Rocker photo by Betty Rocker
photo by Betty Rocker photo by Betty Rocker
photo by Betty Rocker photo by Betty Rocker
photo by Betty Rocker photo by Betty Rocker
Ready In:


  • 12 lb medium uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined, with the tails on
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (you'll need more later in the list)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped (you'll need more later)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (you'll need more later)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 chorizo sausages
  • 1 12 lbs chicken wings, tips discarded and cut in half
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, pick a color, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (you'll need more later in the list)
  • 1 large pinch saffron (as much as you can afford!)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole canned tomatoes
  • 1 lb rice (bomba rice is authentic but you can use arborio)
  • 23 cup dry white wine
  • 3 -4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt, at least
  • 1 lb raw cockles (or you can use small clams)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 8 -10 piquillo peppers, jarred, cut into thin slices
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (yep)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (that's it, I swear)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped (yes, again)
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges


  • Take a deep breath. Have a glass of wine. This is going to be fun.
  • Combine 1 garlic clove, olive oil, chopped parsley, and shrimp in a bowl to marinate, and season well with salt and pepper.
  • In your largest deep saute pan or Dutch oven or similar large lidded pan that will go from stovetop to oven (I used a 12 inch 5 1/2 quart saute pan from Cuisinart,) heat olive oil. Add chorizo and chicken wings in batches and brown on all sides. Season the chicken wings with salt and pepper as you go. Remove, cut the chorizo into slices, and cover with foil.
  • Add onion and bell pepper to the pan, and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, very gently and carefully toast the saffron over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darkened. Remove from heat and reserve.
  • Add 6 chopped garlic cloves to the onion and pepper mixture, and cook, stirring, a minute more. Add saffron and smoked paprika.
  • Add the tomatoes, breaking them up a bit with your hands or a fork, but DO NOT add the liquid from the can.
  • Add rice and stir to combine with vegetables.
  • Add wine and stir that baby up. You should have a nice medium-high heat going, and let the rice absorb most of the liquid.
  • Add 3 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender. You shouldn't need to stir it a ton, as though you were making risotto, but it's fine to uncover and check it and stir, scraping up bits from the bottom. Add more broth if needed. You want to be left with a pretty soupy mixture, but not a lot of liquid floating on top.
  • Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a cookie sheet covered in foil, and broil on high for a few minutes on each side. Reserve.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Arrange chicken and chorizo on top of rice. Cover tightly and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove, arrange the clams on top of the rice, and replace in the oven until the clams just start to open.
  • Remove, arrange shrimp and piquillo peppers on top and sprinkle with frozen peas. Replace in the oven until the peas are warmed through.
  • Combine remaining olive oil, garlic, and parsley. Season, and sprinkle mixture over the top of the paella.
  • Serve with lemon wedges.

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I've never met a cooking project I didn't like. I make cheese, pickles, every single one of my kid's birthday cakes, and have been known to travel with a sous vide in my suitcase.
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