Chicken and snails in saffron rice recipe


This version of the classic paella includes traditional snails with chicken and is based on recipes that preceded the many variations found today. One thing must remain the same, however, for this dish to truly be considered paella: cooking in a paellera over a direct flame. As a result, this can be a challenging recipe to make.

  • Yield: 15 portions (10 ounces/portion)


For Soaking Beans
  • 1 lb White Beans
  • 6 cups Water
For Simmering Beans
  • Soaked Beans
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 cups Water
  • ¼ tsp Salt
For Making the Paella in the Paellera
  • 6 oz Olive Oil
  • 5 lbs Chicken Pieces (legs and thighs work well), seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1.5 lbs Onions, sliced thin
  • 1 oz Garlic, minced
  • 2.5 lbs Ripe Tomatoes, concassée
  • 1 Tbsp Spanish Paprika
  • 1.5 tsp Saffron
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 2 lbs Short-Grain Paella Rice
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 qts Water
  • 1 lb Green Beans or Fresh Shelled Fava Beans (if green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • Cooked White Beans
  • ½ Can Snails (about 40 snails) Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
How to Make It
  1. Soak the dried white beans overnight.
  2. Drain the soaking liquid from the beans and combine beans with the chicken stock, water, and salt in a small pot; cook over a medium flame until beans are tender (approximately 1.5 hours).
  3. Once tender, strain the beans and set aside to be added to the paella later.
  4. For Making the Paella in the Paellera
  5. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (if you are using a wood or charcoal-fired grill, let the coals turn white or the flame die down before starting but make sure the fire is still quite hot).
  6. Place the paellera on the grill and add the olive oil to heat until the oil ripples and just begins to smoke; then add the chicken pieces.
  7. Turn the chicken pieces in the pan as they color, making sure to brown them well on all sides without burning the bottom of the pan (move the pan to hotter or colder spots on the grill, as needed).
  8. Once the chicken has colored well, add the onions and garlic; continue to cook until they become tender.
  9. Add the tomato concassée and continue to cook until most of the released liquid is evaporated (about 5–10 minutes).
  10. Add the Spanish paprika, saffron, rosemary, rice, salt, and water; let the mixture heat and come to a simmer over the open flame (do not stir or disturb).
  11. After 10 minutes, add the green beans (or shelled fava beans),cooked white beans, and snails; allow mixture to cook for another 10 minutes, adding ½ cup of water to the pan if it becomes completely dry (if it does not, do not add water).
  12. Once the beans and rice are cooked, remove from heat; check and adjust seasoning, as needed. (The paella would traditionally be served out of the pan.)

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