Originating in Valencia, this rice dish today is so widely enjoyed that Guanajuato hosts a yearly Paella Festival, featuring Spanish music, flamenco dancers, and of course the paella dish itself!
Today, paella is a wonderful combination of saffron-flavored rice, meat, seafood, and vegetables and has been described as a leftover stew. In fact, paella was invented because in Moorish-ruled Spain, fisherman would mix leftover rice and fish from parties to make it easier to transport. By the end of the 19th century, the Spanish rice adopted its name, which in Arabic means “leftover,” and became a famous dish.
Since its invention, different variations were adopted depending on the geographical location in Spain or Mexico. Today, Mexican Spanish rice, the Mexican style of paella, has increased in popularity due to its wonderful mix of flavours. While typical paella is far simpler, relying on onions, peppers, tomatoes, and chili powder for flavour, Mexican Spanish rice takes these flavours to a whole new level.
Including a lovely mix of chorizo sausage, shrimp, chicken, red pepper flakes, garlic, paprika, and a large number of other spices, Mexican Spanish rice is a delicious, savory dish that won’t leave you with leftovers!
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
- 1 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 lemons, zested
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Note: What’s great about Mexican Spanish rice is that you can tweak it to your tastes. For instance, depending on preference, you can add other types of seafood like mussels or add more quantities of spice for a more flavourful dish.
- Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the chicken pieces to coat them. Cover and refrigerate.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Stir the rice to coat it with oil and let it cook.
- After about three minutes, stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock, and lemon zest to the rice and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Here you can start to add your main ingredients. Add chicken and onions first and allow them to cook for five minutes before adding the sausage and bell pepper. Wait another five minutes before stirring in the shrimp until both sides turn pink.
- Top the rice with the meat and seafood mixture and you’re ready to serve. Enjoy!