Paella Mixta Is The Perfect Party Food

Paella Pan

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Paella Mixta is party food! Actually, Paella Parties are very much a thing in Miami. Catering companies dazzle party guests with their paella pan the size of a kiddie pool and proceed to cook it right in front of them like it’s no big deal. I love Miami! 

Paella is originally from Spain, but my recipe is Cuban Paella (of course!) made with chicken, shrimp, and chorizo. As much as I loved Paella, I had never made it myself so I invited Mami to a paella party in my kitchen. While it had been years since she’d made paella mixta, she still had it! I loved watching my mom in her element, in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and telling me what to do! She does love to tell me what to do ;-) 

chicken and shrimp paella

I’ve since made this paella mixta many times. It’s my daughter’s favorite! Recently my son helped me make this dish, and he wanted to make a few edits to my recipe. I was very resistant initially, but seeing as he’s a professional cook, I gave in. The end result was much tastier! 

Not gonna lie. I’m both excited and annoyed that his is better. So here are a few things he did to level up my paella recipe.

My Son’s Edits To My Cuban Paella Mixta Recipe

  • He used ground chorizo instead of sliced. This added more flavor and color to the whole dish. 
  • Instead of adding paprika to the sofrito, he seasoned the chicken and shrimp with the paprika and salt and then added more to the sofrito. Seasoning at every stage really stacked the flavor. 
  • He dried the proteins before sauteing, so they got some really good color and crispness.
  • He killed the heat after the rice came to a boil. Once I add the rice, I usually bring to a boil and lower the heat and simmer it without a lid. He brought it to a boil, turned off the burner, and covered the rice. It came out with just a bit of bite, but not as wet as mine. While mine is excellent the first day, the rice did tend to get a little mushy when reheating leftovers. (I always make enough for leftovers!)

The paella spices in this dish are paprika and saffron affiliate link. I like using smoked paprika and a generous pinch of saffron. Pound for pound, saffron is the most expensive seasoning you can buy. Luckily you don’t need to use more than a pinch. I paid about $8 for enough saffron threads to make 2-3 recipes. Don’t skip this ingredient because it’s an essential paella seasoning. It gives your dish authentic paella flavor.   The rice you use is also a key factor. You need to use short-grain rice similar to risotto. Cubans use Valencia rice, but if you can’t find it, use Arborio rice.

Cuban Paella

Now let’s talk paella pan. The traditional paella pan affiliate link is wide and shallow and doesn’t have a lid. But you can use any wide skillet. I make mine in my mom’s caldero, a HUGE dutch pot that’s older than me. I know I was cooking in it when I was in my teens, and it was old then. These calderos are very common in Cuban cooking, and it’s what I use for most of my mom’s signature recipes. You can buy the calderos in various sizes, but Mami’s is extra-large because mom often cooks for a crowd. Yea, she’s extra.  

Oh, and the cool thing about paella leftovers is that you can make these amazing fried rice balls. You’ll love them as much as the paella!

Wondering what to serve with Paella? My favorite paella side dishes are twice-fried plantains (tostones) and a side salad. You can use this recipe to make the tostones or buy toston chips at the supermarket.  Now let’s get cooking! 

Bean Train Food For Thought header

Sometimes we can be too stubborn to change, even when it’s for our betterment. Standing in the grocery store arguing with my son about switching up my chorizo is an example. Here’s the kid whose diapers I changed telling me how to make Paella! I have pots older than him! 

But the truth is that my son is a very talented chef. I let go of my pride and allowed him to show me his techniques, which turned out to be an improvement. Pride gets in the way of our growing unless we learn to eat a little humble pie. The flavor is actually better than you would imagine ?

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chicken and shrimp paella

Cuban Paella Mixta

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

Paella is party food, a delicious crowd pleaser with a Latin flair. This chicken and shrimp paella has a little chorizo thrown in for an irresistible spicy flavor.  


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/3 cup olive oil   
  • 2 cups white onion, medium dice (about 1 large)   
  • 8 cloves garlic, pressed   
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced   
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley   
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste   
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, more to taste* 
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, or a bit more* 
  • 3 cups Valencia rice  
  • 4 cups chicken broth  
  • generous pinch saffron affiliate link threads (Do not crumble the saffron.) 
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on 
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ lb ground Spanish chorizo (this is already cooked) 
  • 1 cup white wine   

For Garnish   

  • Jarred pimento peppers, cut into thin strips   
  • Frozen sweet green peas, thawed 

Instructions

  1. Heat paella pancaldero or skillet over medium heat for a few minutes.  While it heats, prepare your ingredients.
  2. Trim the excess fat from the chicken thighs and thoroughly dry them. Then season with smoked paprika and salt on both sides. Set aside. 
  3. Peel and devein the shrimp. Thoroughly dry and season with smoked paprika and salt on both sides. Set aside. Dice the onion and peppers.  
  4. Rinse the rice. (I usually just rinse once.) 
  5. Now that the pot is hot add the chorizo and cook for 2 minutes until it’s starting to crisp. Remove from the pot but leave the drippings.  
  6. Add the chicken thighs in one layer and don’t crowd them. Cook it in stages if necessary. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes each. Remove it and let it rest.  
  7. Add the shrimp and cook on one side for about 3 minutes (you don’t want it to overcook and get rubbery. It will finish cooking with the rice. Once it’s done on one side, remove it and let it rest.  
  8. Saute onions, garlic, pepper for about 5 minutes, until softened. 
  9. Stir and cook for one more minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook one more minute. 
  10. Add the rice and cook it for about 6 minutes.  
  11. Add the chicken broth, wine, and saffron threads. Add the chicken, shrimp, and chorizo and stir and adjust seasonings if needed.
  12. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and cover. Let it coast for about 20 minutes. Rice should be a bit al dente. If you want to cook it a little bit longer, let it coast for another 10 minutes. If you’re not serving right away, you can transfer the pot to a 250-degree oven while you get everything else ready.  
  13. Once the rice is al dente, add the garnish and serve. Let’s get the party started! 


Notes

Seasoning: You’ll season each element individually, so you may end up using a bit more (my son does not measure his spices). I usually use the measurements provided, so I suggest you measure out the spices first and then sprinkle them from your measured portion. If you end up running out, just use a little more, it will be fine. 

Pans: I used an extra large caldero affiliate link that has been in my family for decades. But you can use a paella pan affiliate link. I’ve also linked to a caldero that’s similar to the one I have. Keep in mind that this is a very large pot and you may not have many uses for it, unless you cook for large groups. 

Keywords: cuban paella, paella mixta, paella spices, chicken and shrimp paella

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