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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

[Paella Mixta] Top Spanish Rice Dish from Valencia

The best paella I've ever had was in Fontainebleau, France, over a decade ago. When a friend from Valencia invited a few of us to a paella dinner, obviously our expectation was quite high. As I was decided to have at least two servings of paella, I only had an apple and a slice of brie cheese at lunch, to save some space for dinner. And, naturally I was starving by the time I arrived at dinner. BUT! there was some important fact that all the non-Spanish guests including I had overlooked: Andria was Spanish!!!!, i.e. her normal dinner time was 10 p.m. :( I was so hungry that I finished a few bowls of chips with wine, before dinner. 

Still, I was hungry enough to have two full servings when Andria's signature paella was finally served. It was truly the best paella I've ever had, so far. Now, I am not sure if Andria's paella was really the best of the best, or my hunger and waiting deluded me into thinking that her paella was the most delicious thing I had ever had. It will always be one of the best paellas to me, though.

Paella is a name of a Spanish rice dish originated from Valencia region, but also means a pan traditionally round, shallow and made of polished steel with two handles, which is used to make paella dishes. 

It is believed that paella was made under the Moorish influence in Valencia in 18th century, where rice had become a staple already in 15th century. Traditional paella valencina (Valencian paella) made with white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit or/and chicken), and green beans. 

The two other popular paellas from Spain are paella de marisco (seafood paella) and paella mixta (mixed paella). I usually make the latter one because I want to eat both meat and seafood at the same time! :) Yes, I admit that I'm greedy. This Valencian rice dish is an ultimate one-pan-wonder which consists of meat, vegetables, seafood and carb.

Saffron is "the" most expensive spice, but its fragrance is exquisite.
Here goes the recipe for my paella mixta!

4 cups chicken broth
2 good pinches saffron
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
4-6 chicken legs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 chorizo sausage, sliced into 1/4" pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 pound 30/40 shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined
1+1/2 cups short grain rice such as Bomba or Calasparra (I used Italian arborio)
2 bay leaves
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
18-24 clam or mussels, scrubbed

½ bunch parsley, finely chopped for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Dice tomatoes and onion, and slice chorizo sausage.

2. In a medium pot, heat the stock with the saffron and paprika. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Season the chicken legs well with salt and pepper. 

4. In a metal Paella pan, heat the oil. Add the chicken and sauté over medium high heat until golden. 

5. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook together for about 10 minutes.

6. Add the chopped onion, and garlic, and saute until the onion is soft.

7. Add chopped tomato and mix well.

8. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it well with the oil. 

9. Add the hot broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat about 10 minutes. 

10. Add shrimps and mussels in the rice, pushing them into the rice. 

11. Bake at preheated oven at 350 F , uncovered, for 13-15 minutes.

To serve, decorate with lemon wedges (optional)

Saffron's exotic fragrance amplifies the tastiness of paella.

Bon appétit!

Paella Mixta


  1. Hey Colleen,
    Wow those are big pieces of chicken! Abundant paella! Me gusta, jaja.
    A few days ago, we had fideuá, whose difference from paella is that noodles are used instead of rice. Since the noodles are thin, which makes you feel the dish is somehow lighter than paella, I ended up eating A LOT:p Hope you can try someday.
    Enjoy upcoming fall days:)

    1. Hi Carolina,
      I know. Lots of paella, eh? :) But, we couldn't finish the whole pan at once. There was enough leftover for for the following day lunch.
      I searched Fideuá. It looks really good. I should make it in a very near future.
      It's almost~ Friday. T.G.I.F.