Lazy Man’s Paella

This recipe is for those of you who would like to try your hand at Spanish paella, but don’t have the desire to invest in a paella pan, refuse to purchase the world’s most expensive spice (saffron), and, if you’re like me, cannot handle the grossness that is deveining raw shrimp.

This recipe is loosely adapted from here and from what my mother calls her Saint Augustine dinner, a quick, no-fuss recipe inspired by a paella dish she had in Florida. Traditionally, paella is made with raw shellfish, clams, slices of dried chorizo sausage, lots of saffron, and bomba rice. I cut a few corners to save time and money by using a basic non-stick pan, cooked shrimp, frozen mussels (which was a gross mistake), imitation saffron rice, and the raw packaged chorizo available at the grocery store. The result? A delicious, flavorful one-pot meal that might pass for the real thing.

1.1Ingredient list: Frozen mussels (they were terrible! If you want mussels, definitely buy them fresh. I learned the hard way), frozen cooked shrimp, 2 cans chicken broth, olive oil, salt + pepper, paprika, 2 packages of Vigo yellow rice, 2 sleeves of raw chorizo, garlic, 2 bell peppers, tomatoes (I would double the amount pictured here), and sweet onion.

2Get all your ingredients out, then prep the veggies. Slice the onion and peppers, chop the tomatoes, and mince the garlic. I also remove the shrimp tails, and make sure they’re dry.

3
In the biggest pan you have, squeeze out both sleeves of chorizo. Don’t be alarmed if it resembles your last bowel movement. Five minutes of sauteing on high heat, and it will turn into the delicious, spicy, greasy sausage that gives the recipe so much flavor. Add the cooked shrimp, and saute until they are hot and covered in the sausage and grease. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Drain the grease.

4
Next, add the paprika, garlic, tomatoes and onions. Saute over medium heat until the onions are nice and caramelized.

5
Pour in the salt, pepper, olive oil and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and add the rice and peppers. Cook on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. The rice should be cooked but not mushy. It was taking longer than expected, so I put a lid on after 15 minutes.

Add the shrimp, and if you have them, nestle in fresh mussels into the top of the rice. Cook on low heat, covered, until the mussels have opened.

6
And there you have it! Lazy Man’s Paella, ready to serve. I should note that the mussels are basically there as a garnish. Mussels from the frozen seafood section, come to find out, are NOT the same as the fresh variety. Never buy frozen. Always buy fresh. Now I know.

The leftovers heat really well, and the next day we added scrambled eggs. It was a delicious, albeit spicy Sunday breakfast.

Lazy Man’s Paella
Serves 5-6, cook time 1 hour

  • 1 lb package frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted + dried
  • 1 12 oz. package raw chorizo sausage
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes (or a handful of cherry tomatoes), chopped
  • 1/2 large sweet onion (or 1 whole small onion), sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 packages Vigo yellow rice (10 oz. each)
  • 12 mussels
  1. In a large pan, saute the chorizo sausage on high heat until it’s crumbly and cooked, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the shrimp and saute until heated and coated in chorizo and grease. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Drain out the grease.
  3. Add in the paprika, garlic, tomatoes and onions. Saute on medium heat until the onions are caramelized (soft + translucent, sweet to taste), about 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in the salt, pepper, olive oil and chicken broth, and bring mixture to a boil.
  5. Add in rice and peppers. Lower the heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked but not mushy. At 15 minutes, if the rice is still a little hard, cover and cook 5 minutes.
  6. Add the shrimp, and nestle in fresh mussels, hinge side down, into the top of the rice. Cook on low heat, covered, until the mussels have opened. Voila! Serve hot and enjoy.
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