Last week I shared our Swiss mountain adventures and a recipe for delicious Traditional Swiss Rosti. Today we are heading into the beautiful city of Lucerne and sharing a recipe for Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp. I know, Paella is a Spanish dish, so why would I include it in a post about Switzerland? It will all make sense in a minute, I promise.
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The City of Lucerne:
The city of Lucerne is the second stop on our 2018 European vacation (see Italy here and here). Lucerne is lovely, and quite the contrast from the more rural mountain regions of Switzerland, but just as beautiful! During the day, we visited the historical sights…
…spent time in, on, and around beautiful Lake Lucerne…
…toured the local gardens and castles…
…and even spent some time at local farmers markets where we had the best strawberries we have ever tasted!
In the evenings we strolled the beautiful streets, walked along the river…
… and attended festivals and firework shows.
We were surprised to see that the architecture in Lucerne is a mix of old European Brownstones, modern homes and traditional Swiss chalets. Sometimes the city of Lucerne even reminded me of New York City.
On our last night in Lucerne our family ate at a Spanish restaurant called Bolero where we enjoyed the most delicious and beautiful Paella. In my mind our trip to Switzerland will forever be linked to this classic Spanish rice dish. I decided I wanted to share a Paella dish on the blog, there’s only one problem, I have never made Paella!
So I Enlisted a Little Help from My Spanish Daughter in Law
Being that I am from California, and not even remotely Spanish, I was a little intimidated to include a traditional Spanish paella recipe on my blog. Luckily my son is married to a beautiful girl of Spanish decent. Her name is Octavia, maiden name, Escamilla, and she just happens to know how to make a fabulous Paella. She’s also pretty easy on the eyes.
What is Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp?:
Paella is a classic Spanish rice dish made on the cooktop, in a single pan. The Escamilla family recipe calls for rabbit and mussels, which is wonderful and adventurous but I adjusted the recipe to be a little more USA grocery store friendly by using chorizo, chicken thighs, and shrimp.
What You Need To Know About The Rice and The Pan
Authentic Paella is made with a special rice called “Bomba”. This short-grain rice variety is grown near the village of Calasparra, Spain and is known for it’s ability to absorb large amounts of water while remaining firm. If you’re lucky, you can find Bomba in some grocery stores, of course you can always buy online. If you live near a Cost Plus World Market, they often carry it too. Paella is made in a Paella pan (<—this 16″ pan is non-toxic carbon steel and easy to clean) That said you can certainly use a 15″ cast iron pan if you have one. If it turns out you love Paella and want to make it frequently, you can buy the paella pan when you are ready!
Soccorat, The Secret to Fabulous Paella:
Let’s talk soccorat. Soccorat is the crispy, crunchy, caramelized rice created at the bottom of the paella pan! It’s really one of the best parts of eating Paella, but it can be a little tricky to get it right. To achieve that crispy goodness you stop stirring your paella and leave it untouched for roughly 20 minutes while it simmers. As the moisture is absorbed by the rice, the pan caramelizes the rice at the bottom of the pan. Take a look below. Notice the crispy soccorat? That’s the good stuff! The trick is getting the timing right. Don’t panic if it doesn’t happen on your first try, experience is the name of the game when it comes to Soccorat. Getting that crispiness without burning may take you a couple of tries. I may or may have burned the bottom of more than one paella.
The Recipe: Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp!
Tips and what you need: Paella is best if made in a Paella pan (<—this 15″ pan is non-toxic, carbon steel and easy to clean) but feel free to use a 15″ cast iron pan or stainless steel pan. Authenic Paella is made using a short grain rice called “Bomba” (<—buy online or you may find it at the grocery store Cost Plus World Market) You can usually find saffron at any grocery store but Trader Joe’s has it at a a really reasonable price. You can also click here to buy Saffron from Amazon.
A flavorful classic Spanish rice dish made in one pan! Please see notes about using Bomba rice. Cooking time will vary due to burner heat, altitude and pan used, so be sure to keep an eye on your rice. You want that crispy soccorat, but you don't want to burn it:)
- 10 threads saffron, toasted
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion. peeled and diced
- 8-9 oz pork chorizo, no casing or casing removed
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in thirds
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 32 oz chicken broth
- 2 cups paella rice, also called "bomba"
- 8 raw shrimp, deveined and shelled
- 5 artichoke hearts packed in water, quartered. Or if preferred, 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 lemons quartered, for garnish and squeezing
Prepare all ingredients
Take a small piece of foil, fold into a little envelope or pouch. Place saffron inside and seal.
Heat pan on medium heat, when pan is hot place foil pouch in pan. Heat both sides for 15 seconds, remove from heat and set aside
Immediately add olive olive to hot pan, add onions, chorizo, and chicken thighs to pan, cook stirring frequently for about 12 minutes
Add garlic, saffron threads, smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper, stir and cook, stirring for 2-3 more minutes
Add chicken broth and rice, turn heat up to high, stir well and to pan bring to a boil
Once boiling, turn heat to medium and let it simmer untouched for about 20-25 minutes until all liquid is absorbed This is how the soccorat is created. It can be helpful to turn pan every 5 minutes to avoid hot spots. Be sure to watch and use your nose so rice doesn't burn. You want the rice at the bottom of the pan crispy but not burned.
Once liquid is absorbed, add artichoke hearts or peas, and tuck shrimp into rice (this will steam cook the shrimp), cook for five minutes on low or until shrimp is cooked through
Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes
Sprinkle with tomatoes and parsley, serve, scraping the bottom of pan to get that crispy soccorat! Add lemon wedges on the side for squeezing. Enjoy!
MAY I PLEASE ASK A FAVOR?
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Gorgeous!! And all those flavors look too good! Smoked paprika always wins me over…
Agreed, it’s such a nice touch!
I’m loving these travel inspired recipes! I’m a huge fan of paella and I can’t wait to try this out.
Thanks! I am glad to be home though 🙂
Wow, what an amazing vacation and recipe! I’ve always been a little intimidated to make paella, but you’ve outlined the steps so well and made it very accessible. Thanks for sharing!
It’s super easy! You will have no problem!
What beautiful photos! Looks like the perfect weather too. I love love love paella, and this is such a great recipe!
Thanks Tina! It was really warm, but yes pretty much perfect!
Ohh man I love that crispy bottom! My grandma from Spain used to make paella for us and it is just pure comfort food to me! Your trip looks amazing – love that sweet little market!
Oh I bet you have some good recipes! yay for having a Spanish Grandma:)
Beautiful photos! and that paella looks amazing! Thanks for sharing your adventures and recipe.
Thanks! We had a great time!
Linda, the first time I ate paella was when traveling through Europe @17years old! It was in Valencia and..well….such a long story. End piece; It was delicious and served on a card table in the middle of a quiet street in a huge round pan, by a couple named Jose and Maria.. 4 spoons and we went to town!! YUM.
This recipe looks fab and authentico!! Thanks!
What a great story! I am sure that was a wonderful time for you!
Love the story behind this gorgeous looking paella! Also can’t wait to check out your Italy posts, would love to go someday!
Wow Linda! what amazing photos! and what a trip! Paella has always been on my list to make, thanks!
I KNOW you would love it!
Gorgeous dish and love all the travel photos. You inspire me to try out not only this recipe but I’m going to start planning out my next vacation too!
haha! Well I am glad I could give you the little boost to plan a trip. Have fun!
Linda you knocked it out of the park with this one! This paella is everything and full of all of those special and beautiful flavors. So fun seeing the photos from your trip.
Thanks Emily! We love this dish. And the trip was amazing!
I still want to join your family… perhaps we can arrange a marriage between one of my children and one of your grandchildren. Then, I could come to your house and eat this paella (which I very much want to do because PAELLA IS LIFE).
That would be lovely. And I would make paella for you even if the arranged marriage doesn’t work out!
Chorizo. shrimp, AND artichokes? Yum.
Always artichokes lol
Your travel pics are inclredible. European farmers’ makrets are just the greatest thing ever! And this paella looks wonderful!
Thanks katie! I agree, we went to farmers markets in Ireland too and they were outstanding!
Wow! It’s so gorgeous and I love how healthy it is!
This is such a beautiful dish, Linda, and I love how your travels have inspired your recipes! Of course you had me at one pan. Can’t beat that!
Thanks Christina. We have enjoyed this dish so much!
Your daughter in law and son are both quite easy on the eyes! Love your paella. I first made it as a surprise for my daughter after she lived in Valencia for a summer. For me, the challenge was getting real Spanish chorizo, but now mail order has become more prolific, fortunately!
Well thank you, and that’s really good to know!
How long do you leave it covered with foil once you add the artichokes and tomato? Excited to try!
Actually I just changed the recipe after deciding not to cover at all. Just put the shrimp and artichoke in, cook for five more minutes, then turn off heat and allow to rest for five. Thanks and enjoy!
Could you tell me a brand of artichoke hearts to buy? And how many?
Hi Cathy. I use whatever brand is available. If I am shopping at Whole Foods I get the 365 brand, if I am at Trader Joe’s I get their brand. It doesn’t really matter as long as they are packed in water. I use 5 full artichokes and chop them up. Hope this helps:)