Try our chicken chorizo and prawn paella with lemon-infused rice. Cooking paella in the oven is unconventional, but it works great if you are preparing a bigger meal and don't have a gas burner.
⏳ 75 Minutes
👪 4 Servings
🍎 662 kcal/serving
- ❤️ Why I like this Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella
- 📃 Recipe Ingredient Overview and Easy Substitutions
- ⌛ Hands-on Time and Recipe Difficulty
- 📷 How to Make Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella in Pictures
- 🥘 What dish to choose?
- ⚡ What Can Go Wrong?
- 👪 Yield/Portions and Serving
- 🍎 Nutritional Value in my Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella
- Handy Tips on how to Make Your Own Paella
- Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella Recipe Overview
- Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella in the Oven
Paella is a much-loved Spanish meal, perfect for any occasion. This dish is always on the top of our list, from family gatherings to weekday dinners.
Traditionally, paella is cooked in a carbon steel pan above an open fire or an authentic paella gas burner. Making small paella on an electric, ceramic or induction hob is possible, but using a larger pan can be challenging due to uneven temperature distribution.
It's all down to the size of the dish. To cook for four and more people, you need to use a large pan that is too big to fit the biggest heating element of the hob. The overhanging edges don't reach the same temperature as the centre of the pan; therefore, the rice doesn’t cook evenly.
- The alternative is to stir the rice and move it around a few times during cooking (this contradicts the fact that paella shouldn't be disturbed while cooking; otherwise, you're making risotto).
- Covering the pan with a lid or foil to generate more heat seems to be a better solution; however, it didn't give us consistent results.
That's why we came up with a different approach - to cook paella in the oven.
It's not a very common thing to do, but it works great for bigger paellas because the rice cooks more evenly. You don't even need a paella pan; any oven tray will do just fine.
❤️ Why I like this Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella
- Easy to prepare for more people
- Rice is evenly cooked every time
- Doesn't require a special paella pan
- Makes for an impressive centrepiece for the table
- People always ask for seconds
📃 Recipe Ingredient Overview and Easy Substitutions
- 5 - 6 chicken drumsticks
- 1 onion
- ½ tin of chopped tomatoes
- 120g chorizo; dried or cooking chorizo sausages
- 1 bell pepper; red, yellow or orange
- paella seasoning; either 1 sachet (4g) of Paellero Carmencita seasoning or a pinch of saffron and 1.5 teaspoons of sweet paprika
- 300g paella rice (bomba rice)
- 850 ml stock; chicken or vegetable
- 240g raw jumbo prawns
- olive oil (for frying)
You can use any parts of the chicken for paella - drumsticks, thighs (preferably chopped into smaller pieces), wings or chicken breasts.
Tip: Pre-cook any raw chicken before putting it into the paella. I fry boneless meat in the pan, but I always roast chicken drumsticks or thighs in the oven.
Use either red, orange or yellow bell pepper; they are sweeter than green ones.
Red pepper adds more colour to the dish; yellow and orange are more hidden as the paella has a yellow-orangy tint due to colourings and spices (good if you want to trick a fussy child).
Chorizo isn't a traditional paella ingredient, but I like how it brings a touch of heat to the meal and gives the rice more colour.
The dried version or cooking chorizo sausages are both excellent choices.
The authentic Spanish way to flavour paella and give it its vibrant yellow colour is to use saffron.
I think it's ok to 'cheat' a little bit by replacing expensive saffron with already pre-mixed paella seasoning. My favourite seasoning is the Spanish Paellero Carmencita mix. In addition to paprika, saffron and a small amount of colouring it contains garlic, cloves and pepper.
Go authentic if you don't have time to order paella seasoning online, but you are lucky to have saffron and paprika in your spice drawer. Use a pinch of saffron and 1.5 teaspoons of paprika for 300 grams of paella rice.
For our UK readers:
You can also consider buying Schwartz Spanish paella mix (sold at Tesco and Sainsbury's) or Cook it - Paella seasoning from Morrisons (we like this one better). It is a reasonable alternative to the original Spanish seasoning if you can't get hold of anything else.
I just wish it doesn't contain turmeric as a substitute for expensive saffron, as not everyone is keen on its taste in paella.
Buying the correct type of rice makes a difference. Authentic paella rice (did you know it's grown in Spain?) doesn't get sticky after cooking, and it's able to absorb up to three times its volume of liquid without bursting.
Other types of rice are less predictable and can make paella too sticky and overcooked.
Homemade or from the shop, make sure you use a good quality, hearty stock. Chicken flavoured stock is our first choice, but vegetable stock is good too.
The most popular seafood and fish paella are often served with lemon wedges; the lemon juice mellows the fish taste and boosts the dish's flavour.
We think that the combination of lemon and (any) paella is an excellent match. That's why we decided to infuse our chicken chorizo and prawn paella with a seriously lemony flavour by cooking it with lemon slices sitting on top of the rice.
Note: If you are not sure that you will like the lemony flavour, use fewer lemon slices.
We like king prawns in this paella. I buy frozen raw king prawns as they are a better value than fresh prawns.
Note: I don't particularly like substituting king prawns with any other smaller seafood because it overcooks too much in the oven.
⌛ Hands-on Time and Recipe Difficulty
This oven paella recipe takes around 75 minutes in total to make. The method consists of four/five main parts:
- roasting the chicken - 35minutes
- preparing the base sauce (soffrito) - 20 min
- assembling the paella - 10 min
- cooking the paella in the oven - 20 min
- optional - making socarrat (caramelised crust of rice at the bottom of the pan) on the hob - around 2 minutes
Tip: I prefer to roast the chicken in the oven so I can prepare the soffrito at the same time. Multi-tasking this step reduces the overall cooking time by 20 minutes.
At first glance, paella might seem complicated. The long list of ingredients and various steps can easily give that impression.
But going through the hassle of getting the right ingredients is actually the most challenging part. Once you have them, the cooking instructions are easy to follow and you will quickly get hang of them.
📷 How to Make Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella in Pictures
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Cook the chicken:
Season the chicken drumsticks with salt and roast them for 30 minutes in the oven at 220C; if you use boneless pieces, fry them in a skillet and set them aside.
Prepare the soffrito:
Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil and fry the onion until translucent; add chorizo and cubed pepper (not the slices). Continue frying for 1 minute.
Note: It’s best to make the soffrito in the same pan you will use for the oven (it saves dirty dishes); however, if using a tray, make the soffrito in a frying pan and transfer it to the tray later.
Stir in the paella seasoning and tinned tomatoes. Reduce liquid from the tomatoes by cooking the soffrito for another 3 - 4 minutes on medium/high heat.
Add the rice into the sofrito and stir well until it's evenly coated with the sauce (if using a tray, now is the time to transfer the coated rice from a frying pan into the tray).
Assemble the paella:
Preheat the oven to 240C.
Pour the hot stock over the rice with soffrito (in the oven-proof pan or tray); with a spatula or wooden spoon distribute the ingredients evenly across the base of the dish (it is the last time you stir the paella).
Tip: Use hot stock; cold liquid would slow down the cooking.
Nestle in the remaining ingredients - chicken drumsticks, king prawns, and the remaining bell pepper slices.
Lay the lemon slices over the top.
Insert the assembled paella into a preheated oven to 240C and cook for 10 minutes; turn the temperature down to 220C and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the rice absorbs most of the liquid. Remove from the oven.
Note: This oven-made paella doesn't have a socarrat (burnt bottom); you can improvise once the paella is out of the oven, by cooking it at high temperature on a hob for approximately 2 minutes.
Let the paella rest for 5 minutes before serving.
🥘 What dish to choose?
You don't need a traditional carbon steel paella pan; any stainless steel pan or enamel oven tray will work fine.
Using heavy cast iron is less ideal, but it's possible. It needs more time to get hot and takes longer before it cools down.
Tip: A cast-iron pan should be hot before you put it in the oven to have better control over the temperature. I preheat the pan by preparing the sofrito in it and always use hot stock.
The ideal size of a pan for this paella is 32 - 34 centimetres or a square oven dish 26 x 26 centimetres with the sides around 5 centimetres tall.
Here are two examples of suitable dishes available from Amazon UK:
- Garcima Paella pan, enamelled, 34 cm
- Russell Hobbs Romano Vitreous Enamel Square Baking Pan Tin, 26 cm
Tip: You can check if the pan or tray has a sufficient size by spreading the uncooked amount of rice over the bottom of your chosen oven dish.
The rice should cover the base of the dish in a thin layer not more than 2 - 3 grains tall.
⚡ What Can Go Wrong?
Too much liquid and rice is hard
If, after 20 minutes in the oven, there is still too much remaining liquid in the paella, extend the cooking time until the rice absorbs it. It's very likely that the rice is still hard and needs a longer time to cook.
Cooked rice should be tender, but still with a bite. The rice will continue cooking even after being removed from the oven, so if you feel it's almost there, remove paella from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
👪 Yield/Portions and Serving
The best way to enjoy paella is together with family and friends, either as a main course or as part of a traditional Spanish tapas.
This paella makes 4 main meals or 6 - to 7 smaller tapas portions.
🍎 Nutritional Value in my Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella
When serving our paella as a main meal, there are 662 calories in one portion.
Handy Tips on how to Make Your Own Paella
Paella is a versatile meal. There are as many variations as there are families. These few tips will help you to make your very own version of paella:
- use 75g of rice per person
- choose the right size of the dish
Tip: The rice should cover the bottom of the oven dish in a thin layer not more than 2 - 3 grains tall.
- don't overcrowed paella with large volumes of ingredients - thinner paella = tastier paella
- don't use more stock than three times the volume of rice
- after pouring the liquid over the rice and giving it a good stir, leave it be and don't stir again
Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella Recipe Overview
All the chicken, chorizo, prawns and lemon-infused rice ensure this dish is full of flavour. It makes the most fabulous centrepiece on the table and fills the room with a warm Spanish sun even in the middle of English winter.
Cooking paella in the oven is certainly unconventional, but we find it better than trying to make bigger paella on the hob. As an added bonus this recipe works with metal trays and roasting dishes of all shapes (as well as authentic carbon-steel or enamel paella pans).
Chicken Prawn and Chorizo Paella in the Oven
- 5 - 6 chicken drumsticks
- 1 onion chopped
- 200 g tin of chopped tomatoes (½ tin)
- 120 g chorizo (dried or cooking sausage) sliced
- 1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow) top and bottom cut to small cubes; the remaining body cut to 1.5 cm strips
- paella seasoning either 1 sachet of Paellero Carmencita or a pinch of saffron and 2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 300 g paella rice (bomba rice)
- 850 ml stock (chicken or vegetable) hot
- 240 g frozen raw jumbo prawns
- lemon sliced
- olive oil for frying
- round oven-proof pan or enamel tray diameter 32 - 34 centimetres or a square 26 x 26 centimetres, with sides 5 centimetres tall
- Preheat the oven to 220C (fan).
- Cook the chicken: Season the chicken drumsticks with salt and roast them for 35 minutes in the oven at 220C. If you use boneless chicken pieces, fry them in a skillet and set them aside.
- Prepare the soffrito: (Note 1) Fry the onion until translucent; add chorizo and cubbed pepper (not the slices) and continue frying for 1 minute.
- Stir in the paella seasoning and tinned tomatoes. Reduce liquid from the tomatoes by cooking the soffrito for another 3 - 4 minutes on medium/high heat.
- Add the rice into the sofrito and stir well until it's evenly coated with the sauce (if you need to transfer the ingredients to an oven-safe dish, now is the time to do so).
- Turn the oven temperature to 240C.
- Assemble the paella: Pour the hot stock (Note 2) over the rice coated with soffrito (in the oven-proof pan or tray), and with a spatula or wooden spoon, distribute the ingredients evenly across the base of the dish.
- Nestle in the remaining ingredients - chicken drumsticks, king prawns, and bell pepper slices.
- Lay lemon over the top.
- Cook paella: Cook paella for 10 minutes in a preheated oven to 240C; turn the temperature down to 220C and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the rice absorbs most liquid. (Note 3)
- Let the paella rest for 5 minutes before serving.