Travel & Cuisine

Paella is, without a doubt, the most well-known Spanish dish around the world. One of the best parts of paella is something called “socarrat.” Socarrat refers to the crispy, savory crust that forms on the bottom layer of rice when the paella is cooked properly. 


Even though paella is made from just a few simple ingredients, the process of putting together the dish is a bit more complicated. Specifically, there are three factors that you should be conscious of while cooking so that you achieve an authentic finished product:

How long you cook the paella 

This is the formula that always works for me: 

9 minutes high heat + 9 minutes medium heat (to simmer) + 2 minutes high heat again (to help create the intended socarrat underneath the rice). 

Also, before serving, always remember to let the paella rest for 5-8 minutes while covered in a clean cotton cloth.

Temperature/heat levels

Paella is not a “set it and forget it” kind of dish. As you cook the paella, pay attention to how the liquid is evaporating, and adjust the heat levels on your stove accordingly. If the liquid is evaporating too quickly, turn the heat down. If your rice is sitting in liquid and not absorbing it, turn your heat up.

Liquid to rice ratio

When using bomba rice (a Spanish variety that is typically used in paella) and the times of cooking noted above, 3 parts of liquid to 1 part of rice works perfectly. If you’re using another type of rice or recipe, make sure you have the right amount of liquid it calls for.

There are countless types of paella, from sophisticated ones with octopus or escargots, to more simple, everyday recipes, like the one I’m about to share with you!

This paella is a staple in my house and is made from some of my favorite seasonal vegetables along with chicken thighs. Let’s get started:


Serves 4


  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO (3 tbsp of EVOO to start + 3 tbsp of EVOO to finish)
  • 2 or 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, roughly chopped
  • 250 g (1 cup) of small round rice (Bomba variety) 
  • 800 ml chicken broth (3 cups)*
  • 1 ripe tomato, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch of green beans (or asparagus) blanched and roughly chopped 
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Salt to your taste
  • 1 tsp of smoked sweet paprika (from Spain)
  • Saffron, about 8 or 10 threads (infused in hot water)
  • 1 cup of artichokes hearts (optional)

* Ingredients for a homemade broth:

When you make this broth, you’ll have over a liter (4 cups) leftover–feel free to freeze for a later date. 

  • 1 tbsp of EVOO
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 clean and chopped leak (only white part)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ turnip, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Several chickenbones
  • 8 ½ cups of water (2 liters)
  • Salt, to your taste


  • Paella pan
  • A cutting board and a knife
  • A deep pot to make broth


Chicken broth 

  • Add 1 tbsp of EVOO to the pot.
  • Sauté the smashed cloves of garlic for one minute at medium-high heat. 
  • Add the chopped veggies and sauté them.
  • Add the chicken bones.
  • Add 2 liters of water (you will have 1.5 liters of broth approx.)
  • Add some sea salt to your taste.
  • At high heat, let the broth boil for five minutes then simmer at medium heat for about an hour and a half.

Chef’s Tip: Let the broth cool down to room temperature and then put the pot of broth in the fridge to let flavors marinate overnight. The following day, strain the broth and directly use it for your paella.


  • Add 3 tbsp of EVOO to your paella pan and bring to a high heat.
  • Sear the chicken until you get a beautiful golden color. Remove it from the paella pan and set aside.
  • Add the grated tomato and the chopped garlic, and sauté together. 
  • Add the flat green beans (and artichoke, if using) and keep cooking for a bit before adding the rice. Toast the rice grains until they become translucent.
  • Add the saffron-infused liquid. (Drain the saffron stems and add just the liquid)
  • Add 3 cups of broth and cook it at high heat for 9 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to medium temperature and let it cook for another 9 minutes. Check if some more liquid might be needed.
  • Turn the heat up the last 2 minutes of cooking, and drizzle the remaining 3 tbsp of EVOO to get the caramelized rice on the bottom of the paella (the aforementioned socarrat). 
  • Let the rice rest!!! Cover the pan with a clean linen or kitchen cloth for about 5 minutes before serving. I also like to tuck a single branch of rosemary on top of the paella underneath the cloth while resting, which adds a beautiful herbaceous fragrance.

Chef´s tip: mix up the resulting paella before serving so you guarantee everyone gets some socarrat, some meat and all the beautiful veggies you’ve added to your paella. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *