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A home cook-friendly skillet version of the classic Spanish rice dish
Milk Street Bowtie Chicken and Bean Paella

Chicken and Bean Paella

Appears in May-June 2019

1½ hours

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Chicken and Bean Paella

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Outside of Spain, paella is considered a luxurious dish, loaded with seafood, scented with pricy saffron and served as an event in and of itself. Its beginnings, however, are more humble. The one-pan rice-based dish was prepared by Valencian farm workers as a midday meal, and it often included rabbit, snails, artichokes, rosemary and a variety of beans. This type of paella, called paella Valenciana, still is made today using many of the same ingredients. For our version, we opted for chicken thighs, canned white beans, fresh green beans and grape or cherry tomatoes; saffron is a nice addition, but entirely optional. Using the right rice is key to getting the proper subtly creamy but not overly starchy consistency. Look for Bomba rice, sometimes labeled simply as “Valencian rice.” Calasparra rice from Murcia, Spain, is another good option. If neither is available, substitute an equal amount of Arborio rice, but before cooking, rinse it well and drain, and also reduce the amount of broth to 2½ cups. To be efficient, during the 30 minutes that the chicken marinates, prepare the remaining ingredients.

4

Servings

Tip

Don't forget to stir in the rice after sprinkling it into the pan. Distributing the grains in an even layer and making sure they're submerged ensures even cooking. But after that, resist the urge to stir. Undisturbed cooking allows the paella to form a nicely browned bottom crust called socarrat. Finally, don't cover the pan as the paella cooks or the rice will wind up soggy and overdone.

1½ hours

2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces and patted dry
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 15 1/2-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry sherry
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
1 cup Valencian rice (see note)
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Lemon wedges, to serve
Ingredients
  • 2

    teaspoons sweet paprika

  • teaspoons smoked paprika, divided

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces and patted dry

  • 4

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1

    15½-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1

    pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1

    tablespoon tomato paste

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • ½

    cup dry sherry

  • 3

    cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 4

    bay leaves

  • 2

    teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

  • ½

    teaspoon saffron threads (optional)

  • 1

    cup Valencian rice (see note)

  • 8

    ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    In a medium bowl, combine the sweet paprika, ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and toss until coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. 02
    In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken in an even layer and cook without stirring until well-browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the pieces and cook until the second sides are well-browned, another 1 to 2 minutes. Using the tongs, return the chicken to the bowl, leaving the fat in the pan.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    To the same skillet over medium, add the beans and cook, stirring, until the oil is absorbed and the beans are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken.
    See Demo
  4. 04
    Set the skillet over medium-high then stir in the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, the liquid they released has evaporated and the mixture begins to sizzle, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the mixture is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sherry and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture begins to sizzle, 2 to 4 minutes.
    See Demo
  5. 05
    Stir in the broth, bay, rosemary and saffron (if using), then bring to a boil over medium-high. Stir in the green beans and the cannellini bean-chicken mixture along with any accumulated juices. Sprinkle the rice into the skillet, then stir to combine and evenly distribute the grains, pressing down to ensure they are fully submerged. Return to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook, uncovered, until most of the liquid is absorbed and craters appear in the rice, 16 to 18 minutes. Increase to medium-high and continue to cook, without stirring but rotating the pan every 10 seconds or so, until you hear sizzling and smell a toasty aroma, 1 to 2 minutes.
    See Demo
  6. 06
    Remove the pan from the heat. Drape a clean kitchen towel across the top, then cover with a lid and let rest for 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scoop the paella onto individual plates, scraping along the pan to loosen the bottom crust (socarrat). Serve with lemon wedges.
    See Demo
    Msm 022819 Brian Samuels 0264
Tip: Don't forget to stir in the rice after sprinkling it into the pan. Distributing the grains in an even layer and making sure they're submerged ensures even cooking. But after that, resist the urge to stir. Undisturbed cooking allows the paella to form a nicely browned bottom crust called socarrat. Finally, don't cover the pan as the paella cooks or the rice will wind up soggy and overdone.
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Reviews
Bill O.
June 27, 2022
Very good dish
Very different from the usual paella, with the beans and green beans and no shrimp or pork. I might like to add the other proteins in in the future.
Diana L.

I just finished making it and we eat it. Wow! This was amazing. Thank you for the recipe.

William D.

FANTASTIC! Wow, wow, wow. So good. So much flavour. Just the bomb. My kids both wanted seconds. We had no leftovers.
I suggest increasing both paprikas by 50%. We used Japanese short grain rice, which was just fine. The crust formed as advertised. The ten minute rest worked. Overall, excellent recipe! Thank you, C. Kimball and crew!

Sarah R.

We ended up with a burned bottom because we used campari tomatoes (it's what I had and they don't seem THAT much larger than cherry tomatoes). Do not do what we did or you'll end up with a scorched bottom but no crispy rice. The flavors (ex. burned stuff) were fantastic and I'll be making this recipe again soon using cherry or grape tomatoes. Curios why MS chose to use non-stick and not carbon steel or SS which is what most paella pans are made of.

Lynn C.

Hi Sarah -

So sorry to hear the bottom burned on your paella. We chose to use a nonstick skillet because we had issues with sticking during cooking. Although authentic, well-seasoned paella pans can essentially be nonstick, we felt that a nonstick skillet would yield the best results for most home cooks.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Sarah R.

I can't get this recipe right. I've made it three times and it's burned twice. On the third try, I had no crispy rice on the bottom. The flavors are absolutely amazing and I really want to figure out how to make this work. The smoked paprika makes it tough to tell whether the aroma is nutty or burned.

Lynn C.

Hi Sarah -

I'm so sorry you are having trouble with this recipe. My advice would be to lower the temperature of the heat and let it brown longer at the end. You might want to use a flexible spatula to check for browning on the bottom before removing from the heat. In my experience the rice doesn't get super crunchy. I would describe it more as browned and crisp. Hope that helps!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Lynn C.

Hi Sarah -

I'm so sorry you are having trouble with this recipe. My advice would be to lower the temperature of the heat and let it brown longer at the end. You might want to use a flexible spatula to check for browning on the bottom before removing from the heat. In my experience the rice doesn't get super crunchy. I would describe it more as browned and crisp. Hope that helps!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Andy N.

Cooked this, this evening. It was a bit of a hassle since earlier this month I fractured my hip and have to use a Zimmer frame. I think I just died and went to food heaven.

Eric B.

If I wanted to double the recipe in a larger pan, would the cooking times change?

Daphne K.

This recipe is delicious! I didn't the crispiness either but I'd still make it again, crispy would add another depth of flavor.

Jonathan M.

The instructions for this recipe leave out a step. It says, in a medium bowl, [season the chicken]. Then cook the chicken and return it to "the bowl". The bowl they're talking about is the bowl into which you've transferred the cannellini beans, not the bowl the raw chicken was in.

I believe this comes about because of Milk Street's unfortunate convention of grouping several steps together in every numbered step. IMO these recipes would be much easier to follow if each discreet action were a separate numbered step.

That said, we enjoyed it.

Peter Chris S.

No step is missing— you do, in fact, return the chicken to the bowl in which it was seasoned, and then you briefly cook the
beans and add them to that same bowl. Later you transfer the contents of the bowl into boiling broth and cook it for 20 minutes more, which eliminates any possible issues from reusing the bowl that had raw chicken.

Jessica G.

Totally delicious and a pretty easy weeknight paella as there wasn’t too much prep work involved. I used boneless skinless chicken breast because it’s what I had on hand and it actually worked really well; it wasn’t dry and it picked up the flavors nicely. I accidentally sautéed the green beans instead of the beans in the steak after the chicken (was moving quickly, just saw ‘beans’ and grabbed the green ones without thinking), but it seemed to work okay. I’ll definitely be making this again!


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Chicken and Bean Paella

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

1½ hours

Tip

Don't forget to stir in the rice after sprinkling it into the pan. Distributing the grains in an even layer and making sure they're submerged ensures even cooking. But after that, resist the urge to stir. Undisturbed cooking allows the paella to form a nicely browned bottom crust called socarrat. Finally, don't cover the pan as the paella cooks or the rice will wind up soggy and overdone.

Ingredients
  • 2

    teaspoons sweet paprika

  • teaspoons smoked paprika, divided

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces and patted dry

  • 4

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1

    15½-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1

    pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1

    tablespoon tomato paste

  • 6

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • ½

    cup dry sherry

  • 3

    cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 4

    bay leaves

  • 2

    teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

  • ½

    teaspoon saffron threads (optional)

  • 1

    cup Valencian rice (see note)

  • 8

    ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Step 1 of 6

Marinate chicken

2
teaspoons sweet paprika
½
teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
1
teaspoon kosher salt
1
teaspoon ground black pepper
1
pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces and patted dry

In a medium bowl, combine the sweet paprika, ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and toss until coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2 of 6

Cook chicken

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken in an even layer and cook without stirring until well-browned, about 3 minutes.


Using tongs, flip the pieces and cook until the second sides are well-browned, another 1 to 2 minutes. Using the tongs, return the chicken to the bowl, leaving the fat in the pan.

Step 3 of 6

Cook beans

1
15½-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

To the same skillet over medium, add the beans and cook, stirring, until the oil is absorbed and the beans are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken.

Step 4 of 6

Cook tomatoes

1
pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
½
teaspoon kosher salt
2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1
tablespoon tomato paste
1
teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
½
cup dry sherry

Set the skillet over medium-high then stir in the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, the liquid they released has evaporated and the mixture begins to sizzle, 5 to 7 minutes.


Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the mixture is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add the sherry and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture begins to sizzle, 2 to 4 minutes.

Step 5 of 6

Combine all ingredients and cook paella

3
cups low-sodium chicken broth
4
bay leaves
2
teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
½
teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
8
ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1
cup Valencian rice

Stir in the broth, bay, rosemary and saffron (if using), then bring to a boil over medium-high. Stir in the green beans and the cannellini bean-chicken mixture along with any accumulated juices. Sprinkle the rice into the skillet, then stir to combine and evenly distribute the grains, pressing down to ensure they are fully submerged.


Return to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook, uncovered, until most of the liquid is absorbed and craters appear in the rice, 16 to 18 minutes. Increase to medium-high and continue to cook, without stirring but rotating the pan every 10 seconds or so, until you hear sizzling and smell a toasty aroma, 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 6 of 6

Serve paella

Lemon wedges

Remove the pan from the heat. Drape a clean kitchen towel across the top, then cover with a lid and let rest for 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scoop the paella onto individual plates, scraping along the pan to loosen the bottom crust (socarrat). Serve with lemon wedges.

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