Chicken Paella

Makes: 6 servings
Macros per serving: 40C 14F 17P

Step 1 – The Chicken (Instant Pot)

First step is to prepare the chicken thighs. I used boneless/skinless. Combine these first 6 ingredients to form a paste. In a large bowl, coat the thighs with the paste.

  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 garlic cube (Dorot) or 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Ground black pepper
  • 6 Boneless/skinless thighs

Set the Instant Pot to “Saute”. Spray with cooking spray. When “Hot”, place the chicken thighs in the pot. Brown on both sides, but not to cook through. Remove thighs, add 1 cup water to pot, and deglaze to get all the brown bits. Add the trivet to suspend the thighs. Add thighs to the trivet, and seal. Set to MANUAL for 6 mins and seal. Quick release when it beeps. Save the liquid and the thighs, set aside.

Step 2 – The Paella

  • Liquid from thighs, plus chicken broth to equal 3 cups
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 3 TB Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 tomato, grated
  • 1 red pepper (1/4 should be minced. 3/4 should be cut into strips.)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1 1/2 cups Bomba rice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 small jar spanish manzanilla olives
  • 150 grams of asparagus tips
  •  Parsley
  • Lemon wedges

First, steep your saffron in your chicken broth while you get the rest of the meal going. Grab your paella pan (about 15 inches diameter) and add the 3 TB olive oil over medium-low heat.

TIP: The onion/garlic/red pepper/tomato should be mixed well to make a sofrito. I use a small hand processor to make sure all are chopped well together.

To the pan, add the onion, garlic, 1/4 of the minced red pepper, tomato and thyme, to make a sofrito.  Stir often for about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat for 2 more minutes. Add 1/3 C of the broth to deglaze the pan. Stir in saffron/chicken stock and add salt and pepper to taste (if needed – it might not need any!). Shake the pan to ensure the rice is even in one layer. Turn up the heat until the liquid is bubbling, then turn down to low. Cover with foil. Set timer for 12 minutes. Uncover, and nestle the chicken pieces, asparagus, red pepper strips, and olives into the rice. DO NOT STIR. Cover again and cook for 6 minutes more. 

Turn up the heat for 1-2 minutes, until you hear a crackling sound or smell the aroma of toasted (not burning!) rice. This is the rice getting crispy on the bottom, and forming a socarrat (toasted rice). A socarrat is essential to a good paella. Remove from heat, and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. 

The Backstory

In our early explorations and as we became closer, a lot of our talks involved food. We knew our individual cores were fueled by cooking and culinary discovery. During one of those important conversations, we talked about paella, Spain, and an ill-fated paella pan. Our dreams were forming in those early moments. We couldn’t wait for a lifetime of kitchen adventures together.

The first gift I received from Him was a copper hand-hammered paella pan (or paellera). I immediately knew how special it would be to me, to us. We said we would cook in it when we moved in together. It was so beautiful, I couldn’t bear the thought. I was obsessing over its beauty becoming flawed, when the truth was, the beauty would come with years of attention and love. This is an heirloom in the making.

It’s been almost 6 years since we’ve had this pan, and is always one of our favorite encounters in the kitchen. Please enjoy…paella!


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