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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Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp garnished with lemon wedges in a paella pan

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…

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

…spent time in, on, and around beautiful Lake Lucerne…

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

…toured the local gardens and castles…

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

…and even spent some time at local farmers markets where we had the best strawberries we have ever tasted!

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

In the evenings we strolled the beautiful streets, walked along the river…

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

… and attended festivals and firework shows.

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

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.

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

Why Paella???

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!

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

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.

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp! #paella #glutenfree #shrimppaella #chorizo #chickenpaella

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.

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp in a paella pan surrounded by lemon wedges

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. 

A small plate of Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp garnished with parsley

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.

Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp!
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
45 mins

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:)

Course: dinner
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: classic recipe, easy dinner recipe
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Linda Spiker
  • 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
  1. Prepare all ingredients
  2. Take a small piece of foil, fold into a little envelope or pouch. Place saffron inside and seal.
  3. 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

  4. Immediately add olive olive to hot pan, add onions, chorizo, and chicken thighs to pan, cook stirring frequently for about 12 minutes

  5. Add garlic, saffron threads, smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper, stir and cook, stirring for 2-3 more minutes
  6. Add chicken broth and rice, turn heat up to high, stir well and to pan bring to a boil
  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes

  10. 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!



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