Chicken and Seafood Paella


Light up your grill to make this paella, which is full of flavor from the meat, seafood, smoke from the grill, and the garlicky allioli served alongside.

Chicken-and-Seafood Paella
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 15 mins

“A real paella is infused with smoky flavor, which is why traditional Spanish cooks almost always make the dish outside over a large fire,” says New York chef Seamus Mullen about why he grills this paella. Offer allioli (the garlicky mayonnaise sauce) and lemon wedges along with the paella. He uses a 17-inch paella pan to cook his paella; you can find one online at La Tienda. Find more paella recipes here.


Lobster-Infused Chicken Stock

  • Two 1 1/4-pound lobsters

  • 2 dried ñora or ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded (see Note)

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup brandy

  • 2 medium onions, quartered

  • 2 medium carrots, quartered

  • 2 fennel bulbs, quartered and cored

  • 4 garlic cloves, quartered

  • 2 quarts plus 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 2 bunches basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads


  • 1 dried ñora or ancho chile peppers, stemmed and seeded

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small onion, minced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, minced

  • 2 plum tomatoes, grated on a box grater

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Chicken and Seafood Paella

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 8 chicken drumsticks (about 3 pounds)

  • 8 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 10 cups warm Lobster-Infused Chicken Stock (recipe above)

  • 1 cup Sofrito (recipe above)

  • 2 1/4 cups Bomba or Calasparra rice (see Note)

  • 1/2 pound romano beans or green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed

  • Allioli, for serving (recipe below)

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Allioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Prepare the Stock

  1. Boil lobsters until just red but still undercooked, 4 minutes; let cool. Remove meat from tails, claws and knuckles; discard intestinal veins and cut tails into thick slices. Put meat in a bowl and refrigerate. Chop bodies and legs.

  2. Place chiles in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot over high heat. Add chopped shells and cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until browned. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add brandy and simmer 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add onions, carrots, fennel and garlic; cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

  3. Lift chiles from bowl and mince; add chopped chiles and soaking liquid to pot. Add stock and basil; bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer for 2 hours. Strain stock. Add saffron to stock and let stand 20 minutes.

Make the Sofrito

  1. Place ñora chile pepper in a small heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Remove pepper from water and finely chop. Return chopped pepper to soaking liquid.

  2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, vinegar and chopped ñora pepper and its soaking liquid. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and vegetables are very soft and browned, about 20 minutes; you should have about 1 cup. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill the Paella

  1. Light a hardwood charcoal or wood fire in a covered grill. When the fire is very hot, set a 17-inch paella pan on the grill. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add 3 cups of the warm stock to pan, scraping up browned bits on the bottom. Whisk in 1 cup of sofrito and bring to a rolling boil. Add the rice and romano beans, shaking the pan to distribute them evenly. Season with salt and return to a vigorous boil. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring as little as possible; add more lit coals and/or wood to fire to maintain temperature. Bury chicken pieces skin side up in rice and cook until stock is nearly evaporated, about 6 minutes.

  2. Reduce heat to a simmer; if necessary, use cast-iron trivets to lift pan higher off grill to reduce heat. Add 3 more cups of the stock, 1 cup at a time, shaking pan from time to time and waiting until stock is nearly absorbed between additions, 10 minutes. Rice should be lightly browned and crisp on bottom, but not burned. Continue to cook paella, adding as much of the remaining hot stock as necessary, 1/2 cup at a time, until rice is almost tender and still very moist, 5 minutes. Nestle clams and mussels into rice, cover grill and cook until they start to open, about 6 minutes. Arrange lobster all over paella. Cover and cook until clams and mussels are wide open and lobster is heated through, 3 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, Make the Allioli

  1. Add garlic, egg, vinegar, lemon juice and salt to a blender and blend at high speed. Reduce blender speed to low and add canola oil in a thin stream and blend until sauce is creamy, then drizzle in the olive oil until blended. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Transfer paella to table, cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with allioli and lemon wedges.

Make Ahead

The allioli can be refrigerated overnight.


Dried ñora chile peppers and Bomba and Calasparra rice are available at specialty stores or online at

Suggested Pairing

Spain’s Albariño has a vibrant minerality that’s reminiscent of the sea, making it an easy match for this paella’s delicately briny shellfish.

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