Cuban Seafood Paella is a favorite in our household. There are many ways to make this dish ranging from SUPER complicated to relatively simple. I have chosen a reasonably simple Cuban Method for the recipe I am sharing with you all today.
Paella was initially a rice dish that originated in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. The origins of this traditional dish come from its name Paella, which some say is a variant of the Arabic word “biqiyah,” which means leftovers. While there are different variations of this recipe, this is one of the seafood versions carried over to Cuba.
Ingredients you will need
Twentyfour mussels, cleaned
Sixteen small neck clams, cleaned
Four medium lobster tails, meat removed from the shell and cut into bite-size pieces
Two pounds jumbo raw shrimp, deveined
One and 1/2 cups chorizo sausage, diced
Three and 1/2 cups Valencia rice or bomba rice
Four cups chicken broth
One 8-oz. bottle of clam juice
One cup good quality red wine
One cup green peas, fresh or frozen
One cup carrots, diced
One pound fresh green beans, cleaned
Two tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
One cup onion, diced
One cup green bell pepper, diced
One cup red bell pepper, chopped
Four cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoons crumbled saffron threads
Two teaspoons kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Tips to make Cuban Seafood Paella
One trick to making great-tasting paella is using the right type of rice and the correct pan.
The pan should be wide and shallow, with sloping sides. (Such as a Paella pan.) If you do not have a paella pan, a large, shallow ovenproof metal pan will make this recipe.
Use a good-quality Valencia white rice, Bomba or order imported Spanish short-grain rice.
Use fresh mussels and clams. The canned version should not be used in this recipe as it will be mushy.
Please don’t leave out the chorizo sausage, as it adds an amazing layer of flavor.
Please do not leave out the saffron threads as they are important for the flavoring of the seafood paella.
Use quality frozen vegetables. Organic is great but not necessary.
Cuban Seafood Paella
- 24 mussels cleaned
- 16 small neck clams cleaned
- 4 medium lobster tails meat removed from shell and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 pounds large raw shrimp deveined
- 1 ½ cups chorizo sausage diced
- 3 ½ cups Valencia rice or bomba rice
- 4 cups chicken broth
- One 8-oz. bottle clam juice
- 1 cup good quality red wine
- 1 cup green peas fresh or frozen
- 1 cup carrots diced
- 1 pound fresh green beans cleaned
- 2 tomatoes diced
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 cup green bell pepper diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ tsp. crumbled saffron threads
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Sauté the chorizo sausage. This will draw any oils from the chorizo and help season the pan. Remove the chorizo and set aside.
- Next add the chorizo, carrots, boil, tomato, onions, peppers, and rice to the pot. Add the salt, pepper, and the Saffron threads.
- Bring the rice to a boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer on the stove for 25 minutes, until the rice is almost fully cooked.
- While the rice is cooking, you need to sauté all of the seafood. It is important that the olive oil be “seasoned” with the chorizo, if you need to– sauté a few additional chorizo links as needed to give your oil a distinct pink appearance. Sauté the seafood in small batches. Don’t overcrowd your pan, it needs to cook properly.
- Remove the Lobster from the tails. You may now dice it up to be evenly distributed in the Paella .
- When sautéing the seafood, you need to slightly under cook it. The Shrimp and lobster will be a pink color; scallops will become white and less translucent. Remove each batch as you go and keep the seafood covered and warm so that it does not dry out.If you have fresh clams and mussels, now is a good time to steam them in a little water and wine until they open.
- Once the rice is almost done . You will gently fold the seafood and vegetables into the rice mixture. Then spoon everything into a round flat pan suitable for serving. Garnish the top of the dish with sections, green peas, lobster tail shells, slices of green or red bell pepper, green beans, clams, and mussels in the shell.
- Once you’ve assembled the paella in the Paella Pan, place the dish in a preheated 350ºF oven for 10-15 minutes only- long enough to finish cooking meld the flavors and heat through.
Suggested Spanish recipes
- Flank Steak With Chimichurri is one of those deliciously flavorful yet economical recipes that’s you’ll love all year round. Marinated in a mojo until tender and juicy, then seasoned, grilled, and topped with fresh homemade authentic Chimichurri sauce.
- Arroz Con Salchichas, aka Rice with Vienna Sausages, has, for years, been known as comfort food in both Cuban and Puerto Rican households, made distinctly with long grain rice, tomatoes, homemade sofrito, green olives, capers, and Latino spices.
- Pastelón de Plátano Maduro, aka Piñón is a warm, comforting meal that you will be sure to enjoy. Pastelón de Plátano Maduro or Piñón consists of layers of delicious Picadillo, sweet ripened fried plantains, and cheesy goodness that will leave you wanting more.
© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2020-2013 unauthorized use and/or duplication of content/ material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with proper and specific direction to the original content.