Paella Rápida

May/June 1993

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Smoked mussels replace the pork sausages of a traditional paella, adding depth of flavor without the fat.

Paella Rápida

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed, or a pinch of powdered saffron (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can tomatoes, (with juice)
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup bottled roasted red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup smoked mussels, (2 ounces) (not packed in oil)


  1. Combine broth and saffron in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add shrimp and sauté until pink and curled, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the pan. Add chicken and sauté until lightly browned on the outside and opaque inside, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan. Season the shrimp and chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add onions and garlic; sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. (Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if they become too dry.) Stir in tomatoes and crushed red pepper; simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add rice and stir to coat well with the tomato mixture. Stir in the reserved chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
  4. Gently stir artichoke hearts, peas, roasted red peppers, smoked mussels and the reserved shrimp and chicken into the rice mixture. Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the shrimp and chicken are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes longer. (Stir occasionally to prevent scorching, if necessary.) Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Note: Literally the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Each crocus produces only 3 stigmas, requiring over 75,000 flowers for each pound of saffron. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. It's used sparingly to add golden yellow color and flavor to a wide variety of Middle Eastern, African and European-inspired foods. Find it in the specialty-herb section of large supermarkets, gourmet-food shops and Wrapped in foil and placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid, it will keep in a cool, dry place for several years.


Per serving: 378 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 130 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrates; 37 g protein; 7 g fiber; 697 mg sodium; 750 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (65% daily value), Vitamin C (47% dv), Folate (29% dv), Vitamin A (28% dv), Iron (27% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Magnesium (20% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 2 vegetable, 4 very lean meat, 1 fat

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