Episode 106: Fusion ’Que

So-Cal Paella on the Grill

So-Cal Paella on the Grill

Paella cooked the traditional way—over a wood campfire.


So-Cal Paella on the Grill

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Method: Direct grilling
  • Equipment: Logs to build a hardwood fire or wood chunks to add to a charcoal or gas grill; grapevine trimmings (optional); paella pan; grill hoe


  • 1 chorizo sausage
  • 1 large artichoke heart, trimmed and cut into sixths (optional; or use canned or jarred artichoke hearts, drained; there’s no need to grill them before assembling the paella)
  • Extra virgin olive oil for oiling the artichoke, if using
  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 chicken wings, tips removed, cut in half

For the sofrito:

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 ripe tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 cups Valencia-style rice, such as Bomba or Calasparra
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 8 to 10 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 20 mussels, bearded and scrubbed
  • 8 Santa Barbara prawns or jumbo shrimp, split lengthwise
  • 6 ounces cleaned squid, cut into 1-inch pieces and skewered on bamboo skewers
  • 6 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Place the saffron in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons warm water. Let soak for 5 minutes.

Step 2: Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Ideally, you’ll work over a grapevine or lemon or orange wood fire.

Step 3: Rub the chorizo and artichoke pieces, if using, with olive oil and season the artichoke with salt and pepper. Grill until the chorizo is cooked through (160 degrees) and the artichoke is tender. Slice the chorizo into 1/4 inch rounds. Set the chorizo and artichoke aside.

Step 4: Place the paella pan over the fire. Add the olive oil and heat until hazy. Add the chicken wings and sauté until browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes, turning with tongs. Transfer to a platter.

Step 5: Add the onion and bell pepper and cook over high heat, stirring with a long-handled implement, like a grill hoe, until the onions begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, tomato, and salt and pepper after 2 minutes. If the mixture starts to burn, slide the pan to a cooler part of the grill.

Step 6: Stir in the rice and sauté until the grains look shiny, 1 minute. Stir in the soaked saffron and wine and boil for 1 minute. Stir in 4 to 5 cups of stock, or more as needed, and adjust the heat (by moving the paella pan closer or further away from hot part of the fire) to obtain a gentle simmer. Gently simmer the rice for 10 minutes.

Step 7: Stir in the chicken, chorizo, artichoke (if using) and mussels. Cover the grill for 3 minutes. (This will hold in the smoke to flavor the paella.) Uncover the grill and continue simmering for 3 minutes. The rice should be almost cooked.

Step 8: Stir in the prawns, squid, and snap peas. Continue cooking the paella until the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes in all, stirring occasionally. Add more stock by the 1/2 cup if needed, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Tips

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