Grilled Spanish Paella


This divine barbecued version of paella, shared with me by the wonderful Cal and Loree Renwick, is amazing. We felt so lucky to enjoy it one delightful evening at their home on the shores of Queens Bay. Their paella reminds me of being in Spain! I’ve loved paella since the first time I ate it while bicycling the Camino de Santiago, where so many restaurants had grills out front with aromas of seafood, chorizo and saffron in the air. Icherish this memory for the senses whenever I make this beauty here at home, whether on the grill or stovetop.




16 large prawns, peeled and tails left on

2 tbsp smoked paprika

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning

4-6 dried or fresh Spanish chorizo sausages, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds

1-2 tbsp olive oil, as needed

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp paella spice 1 tsp saffron threads

2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced, or 1 14-oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

2 cups Spanish bomba rice, or any medium-grain rice

1 tsp kosher or Maldon salt

4 cups chicken broth

16 mussels, scrubbed

2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped

2 medium lemons, cut into 8 Wedges for serving


Place prawns in a medium-size bowl.

Add 1/4 tsp of the paprika, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Refrigerate.

Place chicken in a medium sized bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat an outdoor grill to high (about 450-550°F), or your stovetop bumer to medium-high heat.

Place paella pan on the grill or burner, cover, and heat until hot, about 2 minutes.

Add chorizo to the pan, close the grill and cook, stirring occasionally, until chorizo is starting to brown and the fat is rendered.

Remove chorizo to a large bowl and set aside.

Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan. There should still be a thin layer of rendered fat in the pan.

Add the seasoned chicken to the pan in a single layer.

Close the grill and sear or put the lid on the pan and stir occasionally, until all sides of the chicken are golden brown.

Rotate the pan occasionally on the grill to evenly distribute the heat.

Remove chicken to the bowl with the chorizo and set aside.

Add onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper, close the grill and cook.

Stir occasionally, until onions are softened but not brown. If using the stovetop, cook the onions until soft.

Add remaining paprika, garlic, paella spice and saffron and stir to combine.

Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes and juices.

Cook until the mixture has slightly darkened in colour, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the rice and 1 tsp salt.

Stir to coat.

Add broth and stir.

Arrange rice mixture in an even layer.

Place chorizo and chicken evenly over rice, adding any juices from the bowl.

Do not stir the rice from this point on.

Close the grill or cover with a lid and bring to a lively simmer.

Maintain and check occasionally until the rice grains swell, most liquid has been absorbed and the rice begins to make a crackling sound, about 12 minutes.

Arrange the prawns and mussels (hinge-sidedown) on the rice, nestling them in slightly.

Close the grill or cover with a lid.

Cook until the mussels have opened, the shrimp are just cooked through and the rice is tender, but still al dente, about 10-12 minutes.

Remove the pan from the grill or stovetop and sprinkle on the chopped parsley.

Serve with the lemon wedges.