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Sunday Family Lunch: A Different Kind of Paella, Step-by-Step

October 6, 2013 by Joan Nova in Lunch, One dish meal, Recipe Development, Spanish/Tapas | 30 Comments

It’s no secret. Even occasional visitors to FOODalogue know that my ancestry has colored my life, especially in the kitchen.

I grew up in a Spanish-Italian household and I’ve traveled to Spain many times so, that is to say, I’m no stranger to paella. But … I never had one made with potatoes as the base.

A lot of people view a ‘one pot’ dish as a simple way out for a family meal. Sorry, that’s not my method.

I’m a firm believer that a one pot dish is the sum of its parts — and those parts better be seasoned, marinated and seared properly before going in the pot (or paellera as the case may be). When you cook (or partially cook by searing) the ingredients separately, each one retains its integrity and distinct flavors when added to the pot.

So, I spent a lot of time prepping. First thing I did was season the chicken with dry seasonings, most importantly Spanish paprika. Then I put the pieces in a baggie with olive oil and a bay leaf and let sit it in the refrigerator.

The shrimp and calarmari were treated similarly, but I substituted saffron for paprika.

Dried chorizo was chopped and seeped in olive oil to flavor the oil which I used to sauté everything.

The potatoes were sliced, oiled and seasoned with dry seasonings and sprinkled with Spanish paprika.

Something else new to this paella was the little olive salad I served on top.

Instead of the traditional addition of olives and capers to the cooking, I decided to incorporate them at the end to add a fresh element.

The Cooking Sequence

Potatoes were arranged in paellera with some sliced red onions and put in a hot oven (425).

Meantime, the chicken and seafood were seared and sauteed stove top with chorizo.

The Assembly

The chicken and chorizos were added to the potatoes and onions with about 1/3 cup of juices from sautés. I covered the pan with foil and cooked it for an additional 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

When the paellera was uncovered, I added the seafood, vegetables. piquillo peppers and lemon rings and placed it under broiler for a few minutes.

Finishing Touches

I served the olive salad at the table so everyone could spoon on their own.

The Verdict

They oohed and aahed when they realized the base was potatoes. It smelled, looked and tasted like traditional paella — maybe better.

They also enjoyed the first course which was baked baby zucchini with a hazlenut and panko crust, blistered tomatoes and a gorgonzola sauce.

Of course, the sign of a good family meal is the comfort to reach over to the serving dish and sop up some delicious juices with nice crusty Italian bread.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Potato Paella and Olive Salad
A different kind of paella.
  • chicken thighs
  • wild caught pink shrimp
  • calamari rings
  • chorizo diced
  • red potatoes sliced thin
  • red onion sliced very thin
  • asparagus
  • peas
  • piquillo peppers
  • garlic
  • broth
  • smoked paprika
  • saffron
  • dry seasonings
  • bay leaf
  • Spanish stuffed olives sliced
  • red and yellow grape tomatoes diced
  • capers
  • carrot minced
  • celery minced
  • parsley minced
  • evoo
  • fresh lemon juice and finished
How To
  1. Read above details in blog post.
1. Remove all refrigerated items about 30 minutes before you're ready to cook.

2. Reserve liquids from sautés (or use broth, wine, or combination).

2. Finishing Touch: Top with olive salad (Spanish stuffed olives, capers, minced celery, carrots, parsley and tomatoes dressed with olive oil and lemon) and a sprinkle of paprika sea salt flakes.

 *        *       *

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Liz says:

    Another Foodalogue innovation and take on a tried and true dish. Yum!

  2. YUM! I love potatoes and was so curious when you said you were making this. What inspired you to try potatoes for this Joan? I love pretty much anything on potatoes or with potatoes so the little Polish girl in me LOVES this!
    La Diva Cucina recently posted..Tickled to Pickle!My Profile

    • Joan Nova says:

      I started with the thought of making a seafood stew (Catalan style) and then thought “what about a paella?” — and it was a really good call. The potatoes absorbed all the juices and flavors, more so than rice.

  3. I’m doing this…love my potatoes and the olive salad looks wonderful

  4. I can imagine the potatoes taking in all of the flavors…Well done, Mizz Joan!
    La Diva Cucina recently posted..Tickled to Pickle!My Profile

  5. Joan Nova says:

  6. Joan Nova says:

  7. Perfecto, and it’s paleo too, which I’m into right now. You have no idea how much I’ve been craving Paella lately, and this is all the right flavors for me.
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..Why My Husband Went Paleo Primal and Special Deal on Health BundleMy Profile

  8. This recipe completely intrigues me (as your recipes usually do) as I have never had a potato-based paella. What an interesting innovation–no less than I have come to expect from you, Joan. Lovely food and photos!
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Avocado Fries with Cilantro-Lemon Dipping SauceMy Profile

    • Joan Nova says:

      Gracias, it came to me out of the blue and I thought it would be fun. However, after I posted, I googled ‘potato paella’ and see it’s been done — though not exactly the way I did.

  9. bellini says:

    I saw this on Facebook Joan and couldn’t wait for the recipe.

  10. This looks amazing and the zucchini, what can I say!
    Patricia Durr recently posted..Wynwood – Scott Kelby World Wide Photo WalkMy Profile

  11. Erica says:

    I love traditional Paella, Joan!What a delicious and creative variation!
    Erica recently posted..Cazuelita de Frijoles (Colombian Beans Cazuela)My Profile

  12. cinzia says:

    I simply adore paella and your innovative looks faboulous!
    Shall give a try ;-)

  13. This is so class you! It is such an insight in the way you look at food and treat it. Which is why I will always love the way you cook Joan!

    Just a simply wonderful dish.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..Channar Dalna ~ A classic Bengali Vegetable with Paneer & PotatoesMy Profile

  14. Nuria says:

    It looks fantastic, Joan!!! I’m in for your next one… make a space for me at your wonderful table, please :D.
    Nuria recently posted..Mac and Cheese…My Profile

  15. Marie says:

    It looks amazing Joan, your creative mind did it again!Great photos too!
    Marie recently posted..Ricotta Filled Baked Pears and a GiveawayMy Profile

  16. sippitysup says:

    Fantastic. Paella is a tough dish to make. Transforming it with potatoes takes real skill. GREG

  17. Monica says:

    WOW!As a Spanish Food Company, we know something about paellas and your recipe totally amazed as. Don’t see the time to try it!

  18. Lori Lynn says:

    Oh Joan – this is a masterpiece. Genius. All the components stand on their own integrity. Yes! Potatoes are a fabulous surprise.
    Do you own a crockpot? I don’t :)
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Quinoa Corn Timbale, Turnip Confit, Quail Egg, Fried Sage, Demi-GlaceMy Profile

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