I have had paella many times. I love it especially with a big glass of Sangria (click here). The thing about paella, as is the case with gumbo and chili, is that everything is in one pot. The selection of meat and fish in paella is great. Bob Volpe from Monroe Township sent in his extraordinary recipe and we thank him. The flavors of this dish are great. We all sampled this dish when Bob was at the Foodbank having it photographed for the book. Make some sangria, then make Bob’s recipe and go to town!

3 pounds chicken pieces on the bone (legs, thighs, breast and wings)

2 dozen mussels

2 dozen clams

6 small lobster tails (Optional)

1 piece of Chorizo sausage

2 pounds shrimp peeled and de-veined

2 pounds calamari

5 cups of white rice (not minute rice)

½ cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of saffron

2 large cans of chicken broth (32 ozs each)

6 cloves garlic

4 packets of Sazon with Azafran (condiment found in the Mexican section of grocery stores)


In a 4 Quart saucepan, add about 1/4 cup of olive oil and the garlic cloves. Just brown the garlic being careful not to burn it. Add the 2 quarts of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the Goya Sazon and salt and pepper to taste. Keep it simmering while the next step is performed.

In a rather large frying pan, add the olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Wash the chicken pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in the oil until they have a sufficient amount of color (not fully cooked inside). Add the chorizo sausage, cut into 1/4\" pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the calamari and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the rice to the mixture and the saffron. (About 4 stems of saffron should be enough). Add more if a darker color of rice is wanted.

Now start ladling the broth into the frying pan and stirring the rice mixture. (This is as you would do if you were making a risotto) As the broth dries up, add a little more. Keep doing this until the rice is nearly cooked. Just before the rice is fully cooked, add the shrimp and lobster tails, if used. Cover the pot and have the shrimp and lobster cook.

Check and keep adding the broth to prevent the rice from burning. When the shrimp and lobster turn red, add the clams and mussels and again close the lid so they steam and their juices further. Serve immediately and enjoy. Serves 10-12 people

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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