This Spicy Paella is made with andouille sausage, shrimp and a lively colorful sofrito serves as the backbone for a rich depth of flavor. This recipe is fun to put together because its a manageable, perfect for the home cook experience. Whether you have a paella pan or not … let’s take a look.
Serving Tip: Serve this Spicy Paella with a Spanish Salad like this Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad for a fresh Spanish meal.
On the hottest day of the year, on the cement patio outside of culinary school, using a huge round charcoal grill and the largest paella pan I’ve ever seen, we made spicy paella for 50 people.
It was quite the undertaking, making sure the end result was authentic in texture. A little crunch to the rice and rich in flavor.
I’ve taken that saga of a recipe and simplified it for the normal home cook in their normal home kitchen. And using a paella pan is optional.
I find the thin paella pans difficult to use on a stovetop. Brands like Le Creuset make paella shaped pans that are heavy bottomed and produce a more even heat suitable for even cooking. Also a carbon steel fry pan is also a good choice here.
What is paella? Paella is a traditional Spanish dish from the Valencia region of Spain. It’s cooked in a paella pan made of thin carbon steel which has qualities to help to create a nice crust on on the rice. This crispy crust is what paella is known for and is referred to as socarrat. Paella can be made with a variety of meat, poultry or seafood.
The secret to making paella is to maximize the amount of rice on the bottom of the pan because that is where the flavor lies. That’s why a paella pan grows in diameter instead of height. Choose a fry pan with sides that slope.
Paella is meant to be enjoyed as a communal dish, serving many at a party or gathering.
While the method of making paella is simple, making truly great paella requires special attention to the type of heat source and careful preparation of ingredients.
Since we’ll be making paella stove top, consider the size of your burner. Most home burners work best with a 13 inch pan. If you’re cooking paella on the grill, it usually will accommodate a larger pan.
This recipe is bursting with flavor. What makes this paella spicy paella? It’s from the heat in the Andouille Sausage and the dried hot chile peppers added to the broth.
How can you go wrong with andouille sausage, shrimp, hot chiles, cumin, cilantro and lime….and that’s only a partial line up.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Ingredients to make broth for paella:
- Dried Chile Peppers: Pasilla, arbol or guajillo will work well here.
- Spices: Cumin, cinnamon and garlic.
- Chicken Broth or stock.
Sofrito is a seasoned tomato based sauce used as a flavor foundation in Latin American and Spanish dishes. Having a good solid flavored sofrito means you’ve got the start to an excellent paella. It adds complexity and layers of flavor that add to the depth of this recipe. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this version of Spicy Paella:
- Tomato Paste
- Chopped onion
- Chopped red bell pepper
- Chopped garlic
- Hot Smoked Paprika
- Neutral Oil, such as canola oil or vegetable oil.
For the ingredients to make this paella, I’ve chosen:
- Smoked Andouille sausage.
- Medium grained paella rice such as Valencia or Bomba. It absorbs three times its weight in liquid. This rice is cooked in a similar fashion to risotto, though its not sticky when cooked.
- Frozen corn.
- Lime Juice.
- Finely Chopped garlic.
Paella is much like pizza in the way that you’ve got a blank canvas to choose ingredients to make it “your own”. Choose a variety of protein such as:
- Chicken thighs. (chopped)
- Spanish style chorizo.
- Mussels or small clams, scrubbed and beards removed.
- Substitute frozen peas for the corn.
- Add a healthy pinch of saffron for a more authentic dish.
- Omit the sausage and make this a seafood paella recipe.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Make the Broth: Remove stem and seeds from the chile pepper and shake out the seeds. Combine the chile, cumin, cinnamon, 2 garlic cloves, and broth in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
- Step 2: Make the sofrito: Heat oil in a large fry pan with sloped sides over medium high heat. Or paella pan. Once the oil is hot, add bell pepper and onion, and sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Step 3: Add zucchini; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in 2 garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika and salt. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Step 4: Add rice, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to toast.
- Step 5: Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact if you’d like. Pat shrimp dry. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and saute 2 minutes. Add sliced sausage and cook one more minute to heat through. Remove the sausage and shrimp to a plate, so the shrimp will not continue to cook.
- Step 6: Remove the chile pepper from the broth. Stir broth, cilantro, oil and lime juice mix, and corn into the pan. Cook 15 minutes, uncovered, resisting the urge to stir. Add sausage and cook 5-10 more minutes, until rice is tender and starting to get a crust on the bottom of the rice.
- Step 7: Remove from heat. Stir in a splash of Sherry Vinegar (optional) Arrange shrimp in the paella. Cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes.
Serve family style straight from the pan.
About that Sherry Vinegar.
Pro Tip: Take the time to find and purchase Sherry Vinegar. Sherry Vinegar is aged vinegar made from sherry wine. It has a distinct rich flavor and will tame the acidity of the tomatoes and add bright flavor. Sherry vinegar is available in most grocery stores, though specialty stores will provide a better selection of higher quality sherry vinegars.
Recipe For Spicy Paella
I hope you give this spicy paella recipe a try. It’s an easy, delicious seafood recipe. It’s a rewarding recipe that will impress your family not only with its style, but also it’s flavor. It’s a fun way to host a Spanish-style dinner party.
- For The Broth:
- 1 dried chile pepper New Mexican, arbol or Pasilla
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
- 2 Cups chicken broth
- For The Sofrito
- 2 tablespoons Neutral oil Canola or vegetable oil work well here.
- 1 cup red bell pepper chopped, about 1 red bell pepper
- 1 cups sweet onion chopped, apx. 1 medium onion
- 1 cups zucchini sliced, about 1 medium small zucchini
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes undrained
- 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves peeled, minced
- 1 cup rice uncooked, or short grain rice like Valencia or also called Bomba rice.
- For The Paella:
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined. You can leave the tails on if you'd like
- 4 ounces smoked andouille sausage (fully cooked) cut into 1/2-inch pieces. About 1 link
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 4 lime wedges
- 1 Teaspoon Sherry vinegar
- Prepare the Broth: Remove stem and seeds from dried chile pepper. Just shake the seeds out of the pepper. Combine the chile, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, and broth in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
- Make the sofrito: Heat oil in a large fry pan or paella pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add bell pepper and onion, and sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini; sauté 5 minutes. Stir garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika and salt. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to toast the rice.
- Prepare spice blend, combine cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and set aside.
- To prepare paella, peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact if you'd like. Pat shrimp dry. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and saute 2 minutes. Add sausage and cook one more minute to heat through. Remove the sausage and shrimp to a plate, so the shrimp will not continue to cook.
- Remove the chile pepper from the broth. Stir broth, cilantro, lime, oil mix and corn into the sofrito in the pan. Cook 15 minutes, uncovered, resisting the urge to stir. You'd like to achieve a crust on the rice. Add sausage and cook 5-10 more minutes, or until rice is tender.
- Remove from heat. Stir in a splash of Sherry Vinegar (optional) Arrange shrimp in the paella. Cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.
Spicy Paella …It’s What’s for Dinner.
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