This seafood paella recipe with chorizo is the perfect way to feed a big family. A flavorful paella base with vegetables, crispy rice thanks to the cast iron skillet, layered with seafood on top. This shrimp, clam, mussel, and chorizo paella recipe is a flavor party in a skillet.
If you haven’t seen/made it already, my chicken chorizo paella is one of my most popular recipes on the site. I’ve always wanted to make a seafood version, so I took a lot of the same base ingredients and elevated it with seafood!
I used Spanish chorizo, which is already par-cooked. Do not use Mexican chorizo in this recipe, that one is raw and it is used when you want crumbled chorizo. Although this chorizo is pretty much cooked, I put it in the skillet with some olive oil to brown and allow the delicious juices to release. Using a slotted spoon, I remove the chorizo and set aside, but leave behind all the delicious juices to help flavor the rest of the dish.
After I remove the chorizo, I add diced yellow onion, diced red bell pepper, smoked paprika, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. I sauté this all for about 3-4 minutes until the onion and peppers begin to soften. I would stick with either smoked or hot paprika, sweet paprika will alter the flavor of the dish.
After the onion/bell peppers have softened, I add in 1/4 cup of dry white wine. Allow the alcohol to cook off and the liquid to reduce for a few minutes. Once the liquid has reduced, I add in diced tomatoes. A flavor hack I like to use is fire roasted tomatoes in a lot of dishes. It gives the dish a more smokey depth of flavor that elevates the taste.
Next comes the liquid. I used seafood stock and clam juice for the liquid. If you can’t find clam juice, you can just use more seafood stock. Since this is a seafood based paella, I wanted to stick to those flavors. I added a pinch of saffron threads for flavor and to help give our rice that beautiful yellow color.
For this recipe we are going to use a short grain rice. Bomba rice is the traditional paella rice, but if you can’t find that you can use arborio rice. I rinsed it and added it to the liquid. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT! One of the most notable/best parts of paella is that crispy crust that develops on the bottom of the rice. Once you add the rice, stir it to combine and then LEAVE IT! This is going to ensure you get that crunchy layer at the bottom that is oh so delicious.
Now for the seafood! I chose to use unpeeled shrimp. You can buy already peeled raw shrimp, but I love the extra flavor and juices you get from the shells of the shrimp. To be honest, I was hoping my grocery store had head on shrimp, but that wasn’t in the cards.
I also got mussels and clams, if you do not prefer one or the other you can always just double the other. When buying clams/mussels ensure they are all closed when purchased. If they are slightly open before being cooked, that means they have already died and you need to discard them. You can also give them a smell, they should not smell fishy. A bad clam or mussel can ruin the dish! Gently scrub them with a brush to get rid of any grit on the shells under cold water.
Assembling the paella
So your rice has been covered, being cooked undisturbed for 15 minutes. Now we are going to add back in the chorizo and frozen peas. You’re going to mix this up to combine all the ingredients.
You’re going to add in the seafood. There should still be liquid that hasn’t been absorbed by the rice yet and will help steam open the clams, mussels, and cook the shrimp. I re-cover the dish and allow the seafood to cook another 10-15 minutes. Flip the shrimp over half way through.
I have always been told that if clams don’t open when steamed, to discard them. This holds true to mussels, if they do not open then discard because it is bad. Clams are a little different, sometimes the muscles seize when cooking, so if you take a knife and gently try to open, it should release. If it doesn’t, then you can discard.
I garnish the seafood paella with freshly chopped parsley and serve it with lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. Remember to give you guests a little bowl to put their shells in! This paella recipe is a family favorite and I hope you enjoy it too!
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- 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb large shell on raw shrimp
- 1 lb littleneck or steamer clams, scrubbed
- 1/2 lb mussels, scrubbed
- 2 Links of Spanish Chorizo (12oz) (see note #1), sliced
- Salt/freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small can fire roasted diced tomatoes (14.5oz)
- 4 cups seafood broth
- 1/4 cup clam juice (see note #2)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups Bomba or Arborio rice
- Pinch saffron threads
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large cast iron skillet or paella pan over med/high heat, add chorizo and sauté until browned about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside leaving juices in pan.
- Lower heat to medium and add in diced yellow onion, red bell pepper, smoked paprika, pinch of salt & pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until onions and peppers begin to soften. Add in the minced garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant. Add 1/4 dry white wine and allow alcohol to cook off and liquid to reduce by half, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the can of diced tomatoes, seafood broth, and clam juice. Bring to a boil and add the rice and pinch of saffron threads. Stir the rice once so that the liquid is covering, lower the heat to simmer/low, cover, and simmer undisturbed for 15 minutes. (This allows rice to get crispy layer on the bottom).
- After 15 minutes, there should still be liquid that hasn't absorbed yet. Add in the chorizo and frozen peas, stir to combine. Then add the seafood on top, with the opening of the clams/mussels facing up for them to easily open. Cover and cook an additional 15-20 minutes, flipping the shrimp halfway through, until the clams/mussels have opened, and shrimp are pink/cooked through. Discard any clams/mussels that have not opened.
- Remove from heat, top with freshly chopped parsley, serve with fresh lemon wedges.
- Use Spanish or Portuguese chorizo (par-cooked) not Mexican Chorizo (raw, crumbly chorizo)
- If you can not find clam juice, add an additional 1/4 cup of seafood broth
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 669Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 165mgSodium: 1871mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 62g
*Note: Nutrition information is an estimate. Values vary based on different brands and ingredients*