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Paella Cubana

Howard L. Puckett

Makes 10 servings

Paella is a Spanish dish of saffron-flavored rice with a variety of shellfish and meats. In this recipe, annatto seed paste replaces the traditional saffron. Cuban-style paella is served in a cazuela, a round ceramic dish, unlike the flat metal pan used in Spain.


  • 1/4 pound chorizo sausage
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon annatto seed paste (achiote)
  • 1 3/4 cups Valencia rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound fresh mussels, scrubbed
  • 2 (3.75-ounce) cans smoked oysters, drained
  • 1 cup frozen English peas, thawed

How to Make It

  1. Remove casings from chorizo, and slice. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chorizo, and cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring often. Remove chorizo; drain on paper towels. Add chicken to pan, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove skin and bones, coarsely chop chicken, and set aside.

  2. Add onion and bell peppers to pan; cook, scraping bits from bottom of pan, 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add broth and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or just until rice is tender.

  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add scallops, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; set aside and keep warm. Add shrimp, and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until shrimp turn pink. Remove from pan; set aside and keep warm. Melt butter in skillet, add shallot, and cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Add white wine, scraping bits from bottom of pan. Add mussels; cover and cook 2 minutes or until mussels are open, discarding any that do not open.

  4. Gently stir reserved chicken, scallops, shrimp, oysters, and peas into rice. Top with mussels, pouring the cooking liquid over rice.