Conserva Culture article cover for a recipe making Paella. Photo of paella on a green background.

Chicken & Chorizo Paella w/ Rumi Spice Blend

By Gretchen Thomas

Conserva Culture article cover for a recipe making Paella. Photo of paella on a green background.
Recipe adapted from the Barcelona Cookbook: A Celebration of Food, Wine and Life
Serves 4-6
Active Time - 45 minutes. Total Time - 1 hour, 15 minutes

We have made this paella thousands of times, but every one is still a little different. Paella is difficult to make in a restaurant - it should be made to order, cooked slowly on top of the stove, and served as soon as it's ready. We do all three of these, but we have to cheat and put it in the oven, since we just don’t have the burner space to make ten at once. Good paella is heavy on sofrito and light on saffron. Great paella is all about the rice and not about the toppings. When you make paella the first time, taste the rice at regular intervals and don’t worry about some sticking to the pan. That’s the best part - the socarrat! The following recipe includes homemade sofrito. You can also buy store bought sofrito to save time, just be sure to add the Rumi spice to your stock for that beautiful smokey flavor.

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and coarsely chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded, cored and coarsely chopped

½ Spanish onion, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons of olive oil

¼ cup of garlic, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons of Rumi paella spice

2 tablespoon of tomato paste

½ cup dry white wine

2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup smoked Spanish chorizo, sliced (about ¼ pound)

2 cups boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch chunks (about 4 thighs)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ cups Calasparra rice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (for garnish)

1 lemon, cut into wedges (for garnish)

1 pinch of flat leaf parsley, torn (for garnish)


1 - In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the bell peppers and onions until they resemble chunky applesauce.

2 - In a saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, sauté 1 tablespoon of the garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly browned. Add the pureed vegetables and 1 tablespoon of Rumi paella spice and bring to a simmer. Stir frequently as the mixture reaches the simmering point.

3 - Add the tomato paste and white wine, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half and the vegetables are tender. Cover and keep the sofrito warm until needed. Can be made 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated in a sealed container.


1 - Preheat the oven to 450F

2 - In a large saucepan, bring your stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep at a low simmer.

3 - Heat an 11 to 14 inch paella pan over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add the chorizo and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the fat has rendered and the sausage is slightly browned. Add 3 tablespoons of garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

4 -Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan with the chorizo and garlic and at low heat sauté for 6 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned on all sides.

5 - Add the rice, stir well to coat with the oils and pan drippings and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, in order to get the rice hot - hot rice absorbs liquid best. Add the remaining tablespoon of Rumi paella spice and stir well. Stir the sofrito into the pan and continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes before adding the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat.

6 - Cover with any  lid that fits your pan or aluminum foil and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 15 minutes and then remove the foil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid. (every oven works differently if the rice is not tender enough  feel free to add little more stock if you need to, and cook it for a little longer) 

7 - Drizzle the paella with the extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle the torn parsley, and serve with lemon wedges if desired.