4 skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 whole rabbit, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black ppepper
1 pound lean pork loin, cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces
1 pound tasso sausage, diced, or smoked ham
1 pound smoked andouille sausage, sliced
6 cups of white rice, such as Bomba, Arborio or Supreme brand Louisiana jasmine
4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
12 green beans
12 raw Louisiana oysters on the half shell
4 pounds jumbo raw Louisiana Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 lemons, cut in wedges for garnish
Place a 28-inch paella pan over high heat and add the olive oil. To make the sofrito, add the chopped garlic, diced onions, and ripe tomatoes. Sauté the ingredients until they cook down and the sofrito comes together as a paste. Add the powdered seasonings and stir to combine. Move the sofrito to the outer edges of the pan.
In a stockpot over high heat, bring the stock to a boil and add the saffron. Turn off the heat and set aside.
In the paella pan over medium heat, add more olive oil along with the celery, onions, and bell pepper. Cook until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Move the vegetables to the outer edges of the pan.
Turn the heat back to high and add more olive oil to the paella pan. Season the chicken and rabbit pieces with paprika, salt, and pepper and sauté until partially cooked and just browned, about 10 minutes. Add the pork loin and sausages and sauté for 5 minutes.
Begin the assembly by moving the sofrito and vegetables back to the center of the pan with the meats. Add all of the rice along with the seasoned seafood stock infused with the saffron. Stir to incorporate evenly and turn the fire to medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes and while the rice is still cooking, add the chopped rosemary and green beans to the pan. Do not stir the rice but make sure the rice is cooking evenly and move the pan around on the heat if it is not heating evenly. At this point, add the oysters on the half shell, shrimp, crawfish and green peas, distributing evenly throughout the pan. Add the red bell pepper strips in a pattern around the top of the paella. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and continue to cook on low heat.
As it cooks, you should smell the rice cooking and browning in the center of the pan. This burnt center of the rice is the socarrat – the most prized part of the paella. After 10 minutes, lift the cover and see that the shrimp are pink, and the oysters have curled at the edges. Taste the rice in several areas of the pan for degree of doneness. Once the rice is done, and all of the stock is absorbed, it is ready to serve.
Carry the paella pan to the serving table and let rest for 10 minutes while still covered to meld the flavors. Once your guests are seated, lift the foil to the inevitable applause you will receive. Sprinkle the diced parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
Paella is a staged recipe with each layering of flavors building depth of taste. The meats and seafood used can vary widely from this recipe, so feel free to go with what you have fresh and available. This is the size paella pan I have. If your pan is smaller, then scale this recipe down.