We’ve made paella on the grill several times and it’s an impressive dish to serve at a party, but it’s really pretty easy. We’ve used a mixture of Gerard Nebesky’s recipe, Tyler Florence’s recipe, and Maria Sinskey’s recipe as a guide, depending on what fresh seafood and sausage we can find.
We like to make ours directly on the grill. It was one of our favorite outdoor dishes to make with our friends in Chicago. It’s actually quite simple and versatile. We switch out different kinds of seafood and sausages. Sadly, Sarah can’t eat mussels anymore, so we either leave them out or she pick around them. We usually add a handful of manila clams since she can eat those. We like to use merguez sausage, and we haven’t yet tried putting fish or beans into it. It’s best if you use a paella pan (the thin metal probably contributes to the desirable crust on the bottom), however, if you don’t have one you could use the largest skillet you can find.
We prep all of the ingredients and then carry it all to the grill on a sheet pan – so we can put the hot paella pan back on the sheet pan for easy transport. Sometimes you’ll get a few shellfish duds that never open. Make sure to throw those away.
- 6 pieces of chicken (mixture of thighs and legs)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- pinch of saffron threads
- 1 generous teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ pound merguez sausage
- 2 cups of Calasparra rice*
- 1 cup tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ lb small clams (manila or littleneck)
- ½ lb mussels
- 12 - 18 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- olive oil
- Preheat grill to 375°F.
- Place an 11" or 13" paella pan directly on the grill and add a 2-count of olive oil.
- Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
- Once the oil is hot (this should be quick since the pan is very thin), add the chicken pieces skin side down. When the skin is crisp and golden, flip the chicken and let it continue to cook until it releases easily, then remove to a plate.
- Add the diced onion and red pepper to the pan, along with smoked paprika and saffron threads (just a pinch!). Once these start to soften, add the sausage and cook until it crumbles.
- Add the dry rice to the pan and stir until it is well coated with the oil, chicken drippings, and sausage fat.
- Combine the stock and tomato puree and add about 2.5 cups of that mixture to the pan, along with the peas, and stir.
- Nestle the chicken into the rice and close the grill lid for about 20 minutes, until the rice starts to look softened. If the rice is still toothy, add some extra liquid.
- Once the rice is cooked through, add the seafood, nestling it into the rice. Littleneck clams will take about 10 minutes to open, so add those first. When you see the clams starting to open, add the mussels and shrimp to the mix and close the grill again. Once all the shells are open, remove from the grill and serve! If one or two don't open, discard them.