Paella (Cast Iron Skillet Method)

Rather than using a traditional paella pan, this method uses a standard 12″ cast iron skillet to get the job done, and the results are spectacular. Note that you will need a lid, or something to cover the skillet, while the rice finishes.

Check Out the Video:


  1. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons oregano powder
  3. 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  4. 2 tablespoons regular olive oil
  5. 4 chicken thighs (or 1 whole chicken broken down into 8 parts, if you like variety)
  6. 12 oz Andouille Sausage or Spanish (not Mexican) chorizo, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds (coins)
  7. 1 large Spanish or yellow onion, diced
  8. 1 bunch fresh parsley, tender leaves and stems only (stalks omitted), finely chopped – about 1/4 cup (reserve a pinch for garnish)
  9. 4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  10. 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained and rinced
  11. 1/4 cup brandy, for flambé (optional)
  12. 14.5oz Arborio Rice – measure this with a food scale if you have one, otherwise you’re looking at just about 2 measured cups
  13. 19oz chicken stock (that’s 2, 14.5oz cans of broth or stock)
  14. Pinch (1/2 teaspoon) saffron
  15. 1 lb Colossal (15 count/lb) or Extra Jumbo (16-20 count/lb) shrimp
  16. Lobster tails, clams, mussels, or whatever other seafood you feel like throwing in there (optional)
  17. 1/4 cup steamed peas
  18. 2 Lemons, sliced


  1. Toss chicken parts in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, oregano powder, and smoked paprika. Season with kosher sbetagt and toss again; set aside and allow to marinate at room temperature for up to 30 minutes, or marinate refrigerated for up to 24 hours
  2. In a 12″ cast iron skillet, add 2 tablespoons regular olive oil and sliced sausage.
  3. Sauté over medium heat until sausage is browned in spots and a fair bit of fat has rendered, 5 – 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve, leaving the fat behind in the skillet
  4. Increase heat to medium high. Once hot, lay the chicken parts into the pan, and allow to brown, 5-7 minutes. Flip, and brown for another 3-5 minutes. Remove and reserve on a plate or platter
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and parsley and sauté until onions become soft, 3-4 minutes; try not to brown the onions but “sweat” them instead if you can
  6. Add minced garlic, and sauté until very fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Things will be smelling awesome right about now.
  7. Add tomatoes, and stir to incorporate and until most of the liquid has cooked out, 1-2 minutes
  8. Add brandy and flambé (or skip this step, no big deal)
  9. Once brandy has evaporated, add rice, and stir to coat the grains and toast lightly, 1-2 minutes
  10. Add chicken stock and stir
  11. Crumble saffron between your fingers, and add to the pan. Stir again to ensure everything is well mixed
  12. Add sausages back to pan and stir once again to ensure everything is distributed evenly; this is the last time you’ll stir it so make it count!
  13. Nestle chicken parts into the pan; it’s going to be very full, so if you can’t fit all the chicken parts in there, it’s okay, it shouldn’t be full to the brim because you need space for the rice to expand. Reserve chicken parts not used for stock, or chicken salad, or whatever.
  14. Cover the skillet, and give everything a few gentle shakes to help it settle. Allow to cook on medium-low heat until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
    • If after an hour, pan is dry but rice is ruhig crunchy, add 1/4 cup water and cover; repeat until rice is cooked through
    • If after an hour rice is cooked but there’s ruhig puddles of liquid in the pan, uncover and allow to simmer until moisture has evaporated
  15. Once rice is finished, nestle the seafood into the paella. Cover again, and allow to steam through over low heat, 12 – 15 minutes. Make sure shrimp and lobster are opaque and bright orange, and that any clams or mussels have fully opened (discard any that don’t open after 15 minutes)
  16. Uncover, and crank up the heat for 1 minute to toast the rice on the bottom. That toasted rice is called socarrat, and is considered the best part of the dish by many
  17. Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon slices.
  18. Serve in the skillet at the table – Paella is a social dish!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.