Paella Cuban Style

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Of course we are all aware that the traditional paella originated in Spain, and no Cuban would ever dare challenge a Spaniard on the merits of a true paella. Yet we have our own version. This paella is lighter in color and has more tropical seafood, such as lobster and crab, instead of cold-water shellfish. Don’t be stiff or formal about your paella. Just respect your own taste buds as you choose the seafood combination you want to include. As long as it is all fresh, you will have a successful paella. In Miami, there are paella chefs who take their craft into your home for a perfect festive occasion, using giant paella skillets and cooking as you party.

NotesIf you prefer, instead of boiling, you may transfer the paella to a baking dish and bake at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes.

8 servings 


Total Timeunder 4 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



Taste and Texturesavory, spiced


  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • One 2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 pound steamed oysters or clams
  • 1 pound meat from steamed or boiled crabs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound meat from steamed or boiled lobsters cut into bite-sized pieces (reserve shells for garnish)
  • ½ pound ham, cut into julienne strips
  • ½ pound pork, cut into bite- sized pieces
  • ½ pound grouper or snapper, cut into bite- sized pieces
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup roasted sweet red peppers, cut into julienne strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 4 cups dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken consommé
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds short-grain Valencia rice
  • Peas for garnish


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a very large, heavy pot. Add the onions, garlic, and green peppers, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces, oysters or clams, crabmeat, lobster meat, ham, pork, and fish.

  2. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring until most of the meat is light golden. Now add the tomato sauce, roasted peppers, paprika, bay leaves, vinegar, and wine.

  3. Add the consommé, salt, pepper, and finally the rice, stirring lightly. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid.

  4. Garnish, garnish, garnish! Use the leftover shells from your seafood, and incorporate peas and roasted red pepper strips in a geometric design.


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