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Paella is named for the large round steel pan that it’s cooked in, but today we’re improvising by using Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Non-Stick Aluminum Foil, which is going to make prepping, grilling and cleanup easy.
Foil packets are so versatile, they can be cooked on any grill, over a campfire or in the oven.
I like using Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Aluminum Foil when grilling. It uses a specific food-safe coating that makes it easy to grill without the added hassle of cleanup.
How to Create a Foil Packet Bowls
Instead of a flat foil packet, paella foil packets are made with a deeper foil bowl.
To make them, turn a soup bowl upside down. Tear off two 18-inch sheets of Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Aluminum Foil.
Place one sheet of foil over the bowl with the non-stick side down. Press the foil down with your hands around the bowl to create the bowl shape.
Repeat with a second sheet of foil in the opposite direction.
Gently remove the foil and flip it over. Now you have a vessel for your ingredients. Repeat, making three more bowls.
Place one of your new foil bowls inside the real bowl. This will help it keep its shape during the next step.
Once you mix your paella ingredients, you’ll add the mix to each bowl.
Pull the sides together and fold the foil to seal the packet. (See the below video.) This will allow the ingredients to steam as they cook.
Key Ingredients to Paella
Short-grain rice – The foundation of paella is rice – short-grain rice. In Spain, the dish is traditionally made with a round rice, but that’s not always easy to find at your standard grocery. I like arborio rice as an alternative. It’s the same rice used in risotto.
Saffron – Saffron is the spice that gives paella its yellow color. However, it happens to be the world’s most expensive spice. I have found you can substitute saffron with turmeric or even paprika, if you’d rather not invest in the pricey stuff.
Proteins – The proteins used in paella vary widely based on the region of Spain. Some cooks use rabbits or chicken, while others rely on the bounty of seafood along the coast. In America, we’ve become accustomed to paella made with chorizo, shrimp, mussels and clams.
Chorizo – When it comes to chorizo, there are both Spanish and Mexican varieties. Either would honestly work in this recipe, but I prefer Mexican chorizo. Spanish chorizo is cured and hard like salami, while Mexican chorizo is raw and has the consistency of ground meat. You can use either pork or beef chorizo in this dish. It’s totally up to you.
Sofrito – Sofrito is a combo of tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic. It’s a staple in many Spanish dishes, not just paella. You’re welcome to cook down your own batch of sofrito with fresh vegetables, but this recipe uses canned tomatoes mixed with peppers and onions as a shortcut.
Socorrat – This is the crust that forms on the bottom of the pan. It’s the crispy rice bits that give paella a surprising crunchy texture mixed with the soft, supple rice. With this recipe, you’ll still get those crispy bits on the bottom, but because this paella is made in foil packets, you don’t have a big heavy pan to cleanup. Bonus.
Methods for Cooking Seafood Paella Foil Packets
We’re keeping it easy on dishes tonight, so all you need to make this recipe is one bowl and a couple measuring cups. We start with the base. You just mix everything but the seafood together. I like to mix it with my hands to break up all the chorizo.
The paella cooks in two stages. First, we need to cook down the chorizo and steam the rice. This is all done at once. The fresh seafood cooks a lot faster, so it will be added at the end.
Divide the paella base into each foil packet, and seal up the sides.
If cooking on a gas grill, turn 1-2 burners (depending on your grill) to medium heat and leave the other burner off. Your goal is to have a grill temperature of 375F degrees. Add the paella foil packets to the area of the grill where the heat is off.
If cooking on charcoal, only add charcoal to half of the grill, cook on the side without coals. Again, your goal is to have a grill temperature around 375F degrees.
If cooking on a pellet grill or in the oven, just set the temp to 375F degrees.
If cooking on a campfire, place the foil packets near the outside of the coals and rotate more frequently, for an even cook.
Always be careful when opening your foil packet. The steam that cooked this delicious meal will be very hot.
With all methods, you want to cook the paella foil packets for 30-45 minutes, until the rice is al dente. Then, add the seafood and cook for 15 more minutes.
Chorizo Seafood Paella Foil Packets
- 1/2 cup Mexican chorizo
- 1 cup short-grain rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with peppers and onions
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 20 medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Aluminum Foil
- Heat your grill to 375F degrees, with an indirect heat zone.
- Turn a soup bowl upside down. Tear off two 18-inch sheets of Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Aluminum foil. Place one sheet (non-stick side down) overthe bowl and press it down to create a bowl shape. Repeat with the second sheet in the opposite direction.
- Remove the foil and set it right side up. Create four foil bowls.
- In a large bowl, combine the chorizo, rice, wine, chicken broth, tomatoes, turmeric, salt and pepper. Mix it with your hands to blend really well.
- Place one foil bowl inside the soup bowl you used for the mold. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chorizo rice mixture. Be sure to get an equal amount of liquid in each foil bowl.
- Pull two opposite sides together and fold them over once or twice. Pull the other two sides together and seal the loose openings, folding and pressing, as needed. Repeat with the other three bowls.
- Cook over indirect heat for 30-45 minutes, until the rice is al dente.
- Open the pouch. Add 5 shrimp to each pouch. Fold back up. Cook for 15 more minutes, or until the rice is tender and the shrimp is pink.
- Carefully, open the pouch (it will be hot). Garnish with fresh parsley.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.