Easy Paella Recipe using leftover ingredients perfect for Spanish Theme Party and National Paella Day
How do you use get creative in the kitchen? I’m a big fan of “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” recipes where you use whatever mishmash of ingredients you find in your fridge or pantry. (Here’s my epic ‘Kitchen Sink” cookies.)
Tapa Toro, my favorite Spanish restaurant in Orlando, shared their Paella recipe just in time to celebrate National Paella Day on March 27th and I was inspired to #MakeSomedayHappen. I’ve never made paella before but it’s been on my ‘someday list’. The results were surprisingly easy and delicious! This Kitchen Sink Paella recipe is perfect to use all those leftovers and random items I’ve re-discovered in my kitchen as a result of kitchen renovations.
Grab your leftovers proteins, veggies that have been rolling around in the produce drawer, and any canned or frozen veggies you stocked up for the last big storm. Throw them all together in a pan with some rice and create your very own, “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” Paella recipe.
Pair with your favorite crisp white wine (I opened a bottle of CK Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc) or make a fruity sangria. Add some tapas including my citrus fennel olives and you got yourself an easy Spanish night at home!
Travel Inspiration: Spain
Paella is a classic and traditional dish from Spain, primarily from Valencia. I loved traveling through Spain, from Barcelona to San Sebastian, and can’t wait to return.We had a delicious paella in Barcelona, just a few steps away from the Sagrada Familia.
Until my next visit, I travel to Spain through food by visiting Tapa Toro. Chef Frank Galiano’s menu and the combination of fun cocktails, and live Flamenco dancers every night is transporting.
Kitchen Sink Paella Recipe Ingredients
Paella is a very versatile dish. You can add just about anything. It’s believed Paella was introduced to Spain by Arab conquerors as a delicious solution to leftovers. Depending on where you lived, you would utilize ingredients available in that region. It could be seafood paella in coastal towns like Valencia, meaty or vegetarian elsewhere. Every house has its own recipe and there is no right and wrong to what you can add to your paella.
Paella is a rice dish, so rice is important. Saffron is a must. Same for smoked paprika. From there, add your favorite protein: chicken, pork, seafood, sausage, tofu. You can even add a combo as I did or keep it all vegetarian. Then, add at least three to five vegetables. Peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, peas, you name it.
For the rice, Tapa Toro uses calasparra rice. You can get it on Amazon but since I’m using pantry ingredients, I used Arborio medium grain rice. You can use Jasmin or Basmati also.
As much as I love the look of a paella pan, you don’t need to rush to buy one. I used my cast iron skillet and it worked out great. You want a shallow pan with a hard bottom to help cook the rice evenly.
Tips To Make an Epic Paella
Here’s a few things I learned about making Paella:
- If you’re not using leftovers, cook your proteins first before cooking your rice. I used a leftover chicken breast, sauteed 1 cajun style chicken andouille sausage and 4 large shrimps.
- Soak the rice in water before using to help it cook more evenly.
- Don’t skip the saffron. It’s a must for a true paella. Smoked paprika is also an important component to give it a nice smoky flavor. Both will give your rice that beautiful yellow color.
- Cook the rice covered with a lid that has been wrapped in a paper towel or kitchen towel. This helps absorb the liquid from the steam and ensures you get that signature crispy bottom.
- Monitor the rice after 15 minutes of cooking and make sure it hasn’t dried out completely. If it did, add a little bit of chicken stock continue to cook on low heat and covered.
- Be patient to get the ‘socarrat’ – that crusty rice layer on the bottom of the pan. It takes a watchful eye to avoid burning it.
This easy paella recipe is perfect for casual and quick dinner at home or a Spanish themed party that will transport you to Spain. Recipe courtesy of Tapa Toro Restaurant in Orlando.
- 1 small or ½ large sweet or yellow onion chopped
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic (I used 3 large garlic cloves)
- 1 bell pepper chopped (I used fresh red and yellow peppers and half a jar of roasted red pepper)
- 1 tomato diced
- 1 cup short-grain white rice (I used Arborio)
- 2 cups veggies (I used broccoli florets. Asparagus, green beans and peas are good options too)
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast chopped
- 4 Shrimp, large
- 1 Andouille Sausage (or Spanish chorizo)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads crushed
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Fresh Italian parsley for garnish
Heat oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add diced fresh peppers and onions, cook for five minutes, stirring as needed.
Stir in chicken broth, garlic, saffron, and bring to a boil.
Add rice, salt, pepper, paprika, stir and reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add broccoli florets and other veggies, tomatoes, cooked chicken, and sausage and mix to combine. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste,
Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes, and fluff with a fork.
For those who prefer the socarrat layer, continue moving the pan while cooking after the broth is absorbed. Take the pan off of heat if the rice begins to burn. Once the crust has formed on the bottom, take the pan off of the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Celebrate National Paella Day!
If you’re in Orlando, head over to Tapa Toro, located on International Drive next to the colorful Icon 360 Orlando Eye. Grab a seat at their Paella Pit and watch the masters prepare this specialty before your very eyes.
All day on March 27, 2019 to celebrate National Paella Day, guests can enjoy a complimentary bottle of house wine per paella purchase, and their always fun, foot-stomping flamenco performances at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Are you inspired to make your own Kitchen Sink Paella? Or will you go out to celebrate National Paella Day at your favorite Spanish restaurant? Go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time!
Is there a dish or recipe you’ve always wanted to learn how to make? I crossed off Beef Wellington from my list and now Paella! How about you? Let me know in the comments.
Share your paella creations with me on Facebook and Instagram, and tag @goepicurista #GOepicRecipe. I love to see your #MakeSomedayHappen moments.