Paella #SundaySupper

 Paella was one of my mom’s signature dishes. Made for special occasions, we loved to dive into the pan full of chicken, seafood, spicy chorizo and rice! Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.
Paella a l'Americaine | Julia's twist on an extraordinary Spanish Classic with rice, saffron, shrimp, mussels and chorizo

Showing Love Through Food

I was blessed to grow up in a home full of love. Much joy came through the wonderful food I experienced throughout my childhood. My mom was a terrific and adventurous cook and my dad was a willing guinea pig. He would eat absolutely anything except for one dish. He was haunted by memories of his mother’s oxtail soup. Granted, he lived through the depression and there may have been some mighty pitiful oxtails that went into my Grandma’s soup pot. When my mom tested out wontons, egg rolls, moussaka, and paella on the family, we gobbled it all down. Paella was saved for special occasions, and I make the same recipe that my mom exposed us to years ago.

Paella a l'Americaine | Julia's twist on an extraordinary Spanish Classic with rice, saffron, shrimp, mussels and chorizoPaella a l’Americaine

My mom discovered this recipe back in the day when our television only had 4 stations. And NO remote control. She watched the Galloping Gourmet and The French Chef, who happened to be Julia Child. One Saturday, Julia dazzled my mother by demonstrating her paella. After the show aired, my mom promptly wrote the TV station. They then mailed her the recipe. How quaint is that? I treasure that original typed copy. You can put whatever you want in your paella as long as it has four crucial items: rice, saffron, garlic and paprika. This version features ingredients that can easily be found at most American grocery stores. Each region in Spain has their own take and the recipes often contain squid, fish, olives, chick peas and even rabbit. My mom has been gone less than a year, but I felt her love enveloping me as I cooked up this dish. The aroma of chorizo and saffron brought memories of my childhood kitchen and  a smile to my face. This was the best paella I’ve ever made. I think I know why.Paella a l'Americaine | Julia's twist on an extraordinary Spanish Classic with rice, saffron, shrimp, mussels and chorizo

Wine Pairings with Gallo Family Vineyards

Paella is fabulous paired with dry white wine and I selected Gallo’s Pinot Grigio. It’s so sippable with bright citrus notes that pair perfectly with the seafood, tomatoes and lemons in my dish. I also added this to the broth to cook the rice and it provided an incredible depth of flavor. If red is more your style, try Gallo Family Vineyards’ Pinot Noir. Also a dry wine, it works well with meaty seafood and roast chicken. There are hints of cherry as well as some subtle earthy undertones. Both are terrific wines for your holiday table.

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Every Cork Counts

The Gallo Family is committed to helping Meals on Wheels America improve the quality of life for the seniors they serve through their Every Cork Counts™ program. For the sixth year in a row, Gallo Family Vineyards is donating $1 for every cork submitted through their website or snail mail. All Gallo Family fans have to do is take a photo or send their corks! What an easy way to give back!

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Paella a l'Americaine | Julia's twist on an extraordinary Spanish Classic with rice, saffron, shrimp, mussels and chorizoMore Wine Pairings from the Sunday Supper Tastemakers

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Paella #SundaySupper

Serves 8-10 servings     adjust servings

Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins

Very slightly adapted from Julia Child's Paella a l'Americaine.


  • 1 pound fresh chorizo sausage
  • 1/2 pound bacon, sliced into small strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 small bone-in chicken breasts
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 1⁄2cup dry white wine
  • 4 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups imported arborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, deveined and shelled
  • 24 mussels
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced, and large diced
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, defrosted
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • Parsley, minced


  1. Prick sausages with a fork and steam in a pan with a little water till cooked through. Cool and slice.
  2. Add sausages and bacon to a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until lightly browned; stir in onions and peppers.
  3. Cover and cook slowly until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook another minute till fragrant.
  4. Remove all ingredients to a heatproof bowl with a slotted spoon, then transfer fat to a paella pan.
  5. Dry chicken pieces in paper towels, heat fat in the paella pan, and brown chicken on all sides.
  6. Add the reserved vegetables and sausages, wine, chicken broth and seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste (will vary depending on saltiness of your chicken broth). Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes (chicken won't be completely cooked at this point. If making ahead, this is where you can stop, cool and refrigerate. Bring to a boil before continuing).
  7. Sprinkle in the rice, mixing it down into the liquid with a spoon.
  8. Boil rapidly 5 to 6 minutes, uncovered. Do not stir the rice.
  9. While mixture is boiling, mix shrimp with the lemon juice, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  10. When the rice is swollen and begins to rise to the surface, rapidly push the shrimp, tail end down, into the rice and add the mussels, hinge-side down. Cook for a few minutes, flipping shrimp as needed.
  11. Again, do not stir, simply push these ingredients down into the rice with a spoon.
  12. Reduce heat and let paella simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes, or more, uncovered, until rice is just tender--slightly al dente. Sprinkle with peas and tomatoes the last 4 or 5 minutes. You may briefly cover the pan with a lid if needed to cook the seafood.
  13. To serve, sprinkled with minced parsley and have lemon quarters available to pass.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 1073kcal Calories from fat 521
% Daily Value
Total Fat 58g 89%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Transfat 0g
Cholesterol 274mg 91%
Sodium 1665mg 69%
Carbohydrate 62g 21%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 7g
Protein 71g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g
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Paella a l'Americaine | Julia's twist on an extraordinary Spanish Classic with rice, saffron, shrimp, mussels and chorizo


  1. I love paella and this looks simply mouthwatering! So fun to learn more about your family and your mom’s cooking style…it’s easy to see why those memories came flooding back to you in the kitchen!

  2. There is nothing that beats a good family recipe to bring back happy memories. Food really can be a wonderful window to the past 😀

  3. This sounds delicious, a great family meal.

  4. wow so much seafood!!! This is a great weekend meal, Liz.

  5. Lynn@Happier Than A Pig In Mud says:

    Nice memories at this time of year Liz! Happy Thanksgiving Week-enjoy:@)

  6. Oh my. What a feast! It’s got something for everyone. Love it.

  7. Looks gorgeous! I always wanted to try paella 🙂

  8. This looks wonderful, Liz. It is amazing the power food has to connect us with memories.

  9. Oh Liz this paella looks gorgeous! I’m agree with you, each city in Spain has her own recipe!
    Paella is a dish of fishermen. Normally they mixed with the rice remains unsold fish or some chasms and vegetables according to the season. When I go in Spain, my father cook paella with the seafood. But when we are in the countryside, he cook with chicken, chorizo….

  10. I love a good Paella. It’s such a warm and inviting dish!

  11. I love the story about your mom writing the TV station, and your beautiful words about her. There truly is something special about happy memories – of family, food, and love.

  12. Liz, this looks absolutely amazing!!! I wish I could dig right in!

  13. Love that you have the original recipe! Looks amazing!

  14. I LOVE Julia Child. One of my favorite books I’ve ever read was a biography about her that talked about her work during the war years. Fascinating! And a delicious paella, too! 🙂

  15. Your Paella looks so inviting!

  16. I have seriously been craving a good paella for the past couple weeks, and now I want it even more so. This looks amazing!

  17. I can practically hear my husband wiping drool from his chin now. All the things he loves are in here!

  18. Love, love, love the story of your mother mailing in her request for Julia Childs’ recipe…Looks like you’ve also perfected the paella…And filling your home with lots of <3

  19. Such a gorgeous dish! I love Paella and perfect for the holidays!

  20. I love this story and how recreating this dish again sparked memories as the aroma spread through your kitchen. I’ve printed this beautiful and hearty recipe to try.

    Well also pick up some Gallo wine and send my corks to them for this wonderful cause.

    Thanks for sharing.

  21. What a gorgeous meal! It looks like something my entire family would enjoy. Yummed and Stumbled your dish. 🙂

  22. How beautiful Liz! I love the stories that you share of your mom and the explanation of how this dish came about.

  23. KC the Kitchen Chopper says:

    Oh the shrimp just jump off the page. What a beautiful recipe. I love all the herb and spices and the wine is a perfect compliment. Just yummy!

  24. It doesn’t specify when to incorporate the peppers and chorizo back into the dish.

    • Hi, Mar,

      Thanks for catching my omission. I’ve amended the recipe—the peppers and chorizo go back into the pan after you brown the chicken. Add with the chicken broth, etc. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Happy New Year!


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