Paella had always been on my husband’s bucket list of recipes to try and about a year ago, he borrowed a paella pan from a co-worker and gave it a try. With a smorgasbord of meats and the addition of rice and veggies, this one-dish meal quickly became a favorite. Not to mention, it makes a TON which is always a plus when we’re eating with our large extended family. To me, the key ingredient here is homemade chicken broth (not canned!). It gives the whole dish a savory flavor that cannot be beat.
Now, most of you are thinking “I don’t want to go boil 3 chickens just to get the broth I need for this recipe” and I get it…because I certainly don’t want to do that either. We’ve started getting our chicken broth from a local deli in town that makes all of their chicken salad in-house. After boiling chicken off of the bone for their chicken salad, they have this incredible broth that they sell to customers for $5 a gallon…such a steal! I like to get 1 or 2 gallons at a time and freeze them in 2 cup increments to use in chicken pot pie, soups, paella and more. It blows the canned broth out of the water and it’s absolutely delicious in every recipe I use it in. IF you can’t find a local deli or restaurant to sell you their broth and you don’t want to boil chicken to make your own, the closest substitute I can find is “making” your own broth using Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base. Without being the real thing, it gives the most authentic flavor of chicken broth and is a good substitute when you need a quick solution.
When we made this recently, we were poolside at my in-laws’ so I only snapped a shot of the finished product and not the whole process but you’ll see step-by-step directions in the recipe below. The good thing about paella is you can omit or add vegetables and/or meat based on your liking and truly make it unique. We’ve found that we love having both seafood and chicken in there just for variation and adding green beans, snow peas or asparagus adds some nice color to this tomato based dish.
My husband likes to do this on his Weber grill but you could definitely do it on a regular gas grill. The only roadblock you may run into is the sheer size of most paella pans prohibits them from fitting on a regular gas grill. I know some people who have used cast iron skillets for paella but I would be a little bit nervous about the rice sticking and burning on a cast iron skillet. We like to serve this with caesar salad and crusty french bread but the paella itself is more than filling without any sides.