Life Path Paella Recipe on Food52

Bell Pepper

Life Path Paella

August 20, 2019
3 Ratings
Author Notes

Who knows how these ideas make their way into our heads, right? But what wandered over into mine was that I wanted to make a paella that had representatives from everywhere I have lived - so, mussles (we used to pick them off the rocks when I was a kid in Laguna Beach Ca), red chili (just ground red chilis no other add-ins) from Taos New Mexico, clams and chorizo from Newport Rhode Island, and local quail from right down the road in Lockhart Texas. If your sister doesn't mail you chili powder on a regular basis, you can substitute hot paprika. There is a lot of stuff in this paella, but it actually comes together pretty quickly ... —aargersi

  • Serves 4
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion
  • 1 heaping teaspoons New Mexico red chili
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 cups parboiled rice, I like Zatarains. And listen, no lip about this - it's very forgiving, cooks quickly and works great!
  • 2 semi boneless quail
  • 1/2 pound black mussels
  • 1/2 pound littleneck clams (quahogs!)
  • 2 links (6 oz) spanish chorizo
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (the double concentrated tube kind)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • olive oil to coat the pan
  • salt and pepper
  • a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • juice from one lemon
In This Recipe
  1. First, char the bell pepper. I did this over the flame on our gas stove but you could grill it or broil it. Just a light char, not completely blackened. While it cools dice the onion, slice the chorizo, and mince the garlic. Season the quail generously all over with salt and pepper. Now seed the pepper and slice it into strips. Eat a few, they are irresitable and you have plenty.
  2. Coat the bottom of your paella pan or large skillet with olive oil. Heat to medium-high and put the chorizo in. Brown the chorizo and then remove it with a slotted spoon. Now put the quail in the pan - you want to crisp up the skin but not cook it through, so keep the heat kind of high. When the quail are crisped take them out and set them aside.
  3. Now you can turn the heat down a little. Add the chili powder and saffron to the pan. Put the onion in and saute until it softened, then add the garlic and the rice. Cook, stirring, for a few more minutes until the rice is a little toasty. Now add the wine and tomato paste and stir, then broth and stir, then add the chorizo back in, with the peas and peppers. Cut the quail into quarters and nestle them into the rice. Cover the pan and set you timer for 15 minutes.
  4. You may as well have a glass of wine now. Also go ahead and scrub the clams and the mussels. May as well chop the parsley too. Cut the lemon in half.
  5. When the timer goes off, open the lid and arrange the clams hinge side down in the rice. Don't push them down too far though or they will have trouble opening. Lid back on, and wait 3 minutes.
  6. Now arrange the mussles in there as well. Put the lid back on and CRANK the heat to high - this will open the mussles and give you your crisp (is it called soccorat? I think that's right) at the same time. You can hear it sizzling if you put your ear by the pan. DO NOT catch your hair on fire. This will take just 3 or 4 minutes.
  7. Finish the paella with a scattering of chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon. See? Not so hard!
  8. ** a tip - we (and by "we" I mean Mr L as he is trying to get all of the crispy stuff for himself) use a metal fish spatula to get the crisp part up **
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  • Waverly
  • aliyaleekong
  • luvcookbooks
  • Midge
  • nannydeb
I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage

    16 Reviews

    Waverly October 19, 2010
    Reading your recipe, I feel like I've already cooked the dish with you. I only wish I could taste it, but I guess I will have to make it myself. Your ingredients sound wonderful. I am so impressed by all of these paella recipes, but yours with chile, chorizo, quail, and mussels sounds particularly appealing. Great recipe!
    aliyaleekong October 19, 2010
    Love the concept! Thanks for sharing
    luvcookbooks October 18, 2010
    like the recipe, the title, and the recipe concept (something from everywhere). For me, Appleton, Wisconsin would be apples, cheddar cheese and butter, Indiana would be ?, Maryland would be crab, of course, Madison would be Farmer's Market food, the Bronx would be mangoes, pernil, rice and beans, samosas...
    i think i have to work with this a little more before it can be a paella
    Midge October 18, 2010
    What a great concept! Sounds absolutely delicious.
    nannydeb October 17, 2010
    This looks fabulous! Your instructions make it sound easy to make. And if Mr. L ate it, maybe Tortuga will eat it?
    Author Comment
    aargersi October 17, 2010
    I think so! I got all of the clams and mussles to myself :-)
    arielleclementine October 17, 2010
    fantastic recipe, aargersi! great pic and wonderful writing!
    Author Comment
    aargersi October 17, 2010
    You're sweet to say so - we should have a paella party soon !!
    TiggyBee October 16, 2010
    This looks beautiful!! I love the way you've combined ingredients from the various places near to your heart. Really lovely recipe!!
    Author Comment
    aargersi October 17, 2010
    Thank you - it was fun to make and remember ...
    dymnyno October 16, 2010
    So...when you are running, you are literally pounding ideas into your head through your feet!! It works!
    Author Comment
    aargersi October 17, 2010
    Makes sense, huh - really I run just so I can eat ... so may as well think about what to eat next

    gingerroot October 18, 2010
    Cheers! I'll eat (and run) to that!
    mrslarkin October 16, 2010
    gingerroot October 16, 2010
    This looks and sounds amazing!! Love the tips (not setting hair on fire), and wine break.
    ellenl October 16, 2010
    Not only does this sound wonderful, the photo is glorious!