Lobster Paella on the Grill
- ACTIVE: 1 HR
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 20 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8
This impressive and subtly smoky paella—studded with lobster, shrimp, clams and chorizo—cooks on the grill in one big pan. Make sure to use a large pile of coals that will stay hot for an hour or so.
- 6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (about 2 pounds)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 chorizo sausages, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1/2 pound)
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 3 bell peppers—preferably 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 orange, cut lengthwise into 1-inch strips
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 cups medium-grain Spanish rice, such as Valencia, or arborio rice (18 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- Two 1 1/4-pound lobsters—tails split lengthwise, claws and knuckles cracked and heads discarded (see Note)
- 2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Light a grill. In a medium saucepan, cover the chicken stock and bring to a simmer on the grill. Set aside, covered.
- Set a paella pan or a very large skillet over the hot fire and add the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper. Add the chorizo and cook until the chicken and sausage are lightly browned on both sides, about 6 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the onions, peppers and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes.
- Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the warm stock, crumble in the saffron and add a large pinch of salt. Add the chicken thighs and chorizo. Cover the grill and cook until the stock has reduced to 2 cups, about 12 minutes. Nestle the lobster pieces in the rice, cover the grill and cook for 3 minutes. Arrange the shrimp, clams and mussels in the rice, cover the grill and simmer until the chicken, shrimp and lobster are cooked through and the clams and mussels are open, about 10 minutes longer. Discard any shellfish that don't open. Spoon the paella into shallow bowls and serve piping hot with lemon wedges.
The smoky flavors of this paella match well with Syrah, which often takes on a smoky (and bacony) character, especially when aged in French oak. California's Santa Barbara area has become the state's premier Syrah source in recent years.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.