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Recipe Alert : Traditional Spanish Paella with Saffron

Nourishing, vibrant, and served without pretension, paella has held a place of honor and practicality in Spanish homes for centuries. If mussels aren't your favorite, you can easily substitute littleneck clams in their place--just be sure to thoroughly scrub the clams' shells in cold water before using. To round out the meal, choose a good Spanish red wine from the Rioja region, grab a crusty baguette, and serve with a light salad.


  • Herb Blend:

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • Paella:

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads

  • 3 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

  • 8 unpeeled jumbo shrimp (about 1/2 pound)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 4 skinned, boned chicken thighs, cut in half

  • 2 links Spanish chorizo sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces) or turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

  • 1 (4-ounce) slice prosciutto or 33%-less-sodium ham, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 cups finely chopped onion

  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice

  • 1 cup frozen green peas

  • 8 mussels, scrubbed and debearded

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • Lemon wedges (optional)

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare the herb blend, combine the first 4 ingredients, and set aside.

Step 2

To prepare paella, combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact; set aside.

Step 3

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add sausage and prosciutto; saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Add shrimp, and saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; saute 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, chicken, sausage mixture, and peas. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mussels to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until shells open; discard any unopened shells. Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

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