Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Paella with Shrimp and Chorizo

To me, paella is one of the best—and most inviting—examples of food architecture. You start with a good base and then build. The ingredients of this classic Spanish dish all come together in one pan, and when it’s finished, you have a beautiful, flavorful, and wonderfully constructed dinner.

Traditional paella typically includes three proteins: chicken, pork (sausage), and seafood. However, as with any cuisine’s favorite, there are many varieties—for instance, all seafood, or just chicken and pork, or sausage and seafood, you get the picture—but there are two must-haves: rice and saffron. Cheap and expensive, right?

No, hold on. This is from an earlier recipe, Easy Paella for Four (or More):

Saffron—the dried red stigmas of the crocus—is one of the most expensive spices on the market because of the large number of flowers it takes to produce a small quantity of the stigmas. The good news is that you need very little in any recipe, as its musky scent and slightly bitter flavor can overpower a dish quickly (and turn everything orange-yellow) if you use too much. Only a few dollars worth of saffron threads will last typically three to four years when stored in an airtight container away from bright light and heat.

I’ve found that only one-quarter teaspoon of saffron threads is a good amount for four to five servings of paella.

For the meat in this recipe, I used only shrimp and Spanish chorizo. Of course, there are many brands of chorizo, and some makers wrap the sausage in a collagen casing before packaging. Some brands include a string to pull down, making a slit along the side so that it’s easier to remove. If your chorizo is collagen-wrapped without a string, you can also use a small knife to cut off a tip end of the sausage, then run the blade gently down the length of the casing and peel it away from the meat. (And if you don’t have Spanish chorizo, substitute kielbasa or smoked sausage.)

Chorizo in Collagen Casing
Chorizo Removed from Casing
Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 lb large shrimp (16 to 20 count) peeled, deveined, and cut lengthwise in half
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup long-grain white rice, soaked in water 30 minutes, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup green peas (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green olives
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads, crumbled
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 6-oz Spanish chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
Sliced Shrimp 
More Paella Ingredients
Sliced Chorizo
  1. Heat a paella pan or large, nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and onion and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the shrimp, tomatoes, rice, peas, olives, and saffron and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, wine, chorizo, and paprika to the pan. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook slowly until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 20-25 minutes.
Garlic, Bell Pepper, and Onion Beginning to Cook 
Shrimp Mixture Added
Broth Mixture Added
To serve, arrange heatproof padding in the center of the table. Place the pan on the padding and allow guests to serve themselves.

Paella with Shrimp and Chorizo


  1. this looks delicious! Thank you for sharing and joining our Oh My Heartsie Girl Wordless Wednesday Link Party. Have a great day, co-host Evija @Fromevijawithlove