Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella Recipe

Traditionally, Paella is a staple food hailing from Valencia, Spain. Initially a meal for farmers and laborers, Paella has risen to become a globally recognized dish and a symbol of Spanish cuisine. Today, we’re taking this beloved culinary icon a step further. Introducing our Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella recipe!

To enhance the flavors even further, we recommend using Carolina White Rice, a high-quality product that adds a touch of excellence to your cooking. You can find Carolina White Rice at this link:


To prepare a delicious Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella, gather the following ingredients:

2 cups Carolina® White Rice

4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

200g boiled ham, diced

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1 cup frozen peas

4 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil


Now, let’s dive into the preparation process of this delectable Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella:

Step 1

Heat a paella pan or a large, shallow skillet over medium heat. Drizzle olive oil and brown the chicken thighs on both sides. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Step 2

In the same pan, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until they become translucent and fragrant.

Step 3

Incorporate the diced boiled ham and sliced bell peppers into the pan. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the peppers become slightly tender.

Step 4

Add the Carolina White Rice to the pan and stir it well with the other ingredients, ensuring each grain is coated.

Step 5

Dissolve the saffron threads in the chicken broth and pour it into the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Give it a gentle stir to distribute the flavors evenly.

Step 6

Return the browned chicken thighs to the pan, placing them on top of the rice mixture. Add the frozen peas and distribute them evenly.

Step 7

Cover the pan and let the paella simmer over medium-low heat for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the chicken is tender.

Step 8

Once the paella is ready, remove it from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes, covered.

Step 9

Serve the Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella with lemon wedges on the side, allowing diners to squeeze fresh lemon juice over their portion for an added burst of flavor.

The Origins of Paella

Paella, a culinary masterpiece, finds its roots in Valencia, Spain. It is believed to have originated in the 18th century, near Lake Albufera, where local farmers would cook rice with available ingredients. Initially, paella was a dish made by farmworkers using rabbit, chicken, snails, and vegetables. 

Over time, variations with seafood, such as shrimp, mussels, and clams, gained popularity in coastal regions. Today, paella has become an iconic Spanish dish, loved and cherished by people around the world.

Accompaniments and Serving Suggestions

To complement the flavors of your Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella, consider serving it with a fresh green salad or grilled vegetables. A glass of chilled Spanish sangria or a crisp white wine would be a fantastic beverage choice to accompany this dish. Don’t forget to garnish your paella with some fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro, to add an extra touch of freshness.

Secrets to Perfecting Your Paella

To ensure your Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella turns out exquisite, here are a few secrets to keep in mind:

Choose the right rice: Opt for Carolina® White Rice, known for its quality, perfect texture, and ability to absorb flavors harmoniously.

Saffron, the golden touch: Infuse your paella with the unmistakable aroma and rich color of saffron threads, which add depth to the dish.

Patience is key: Allow your paella to simmer gently, allowing the rice to cook slowly and absorb all the delicious flavors.

The socarrat effect: For the coveted caramelized crust at the bottom of the paella, increase the heat slightly at the end, being careful not to burn it.

Exciting Variations of the Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella

When it comes to culinary creativity, the Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella provides a canvas for experimentation. Here are a few exciting options to explore:

Seafood Extravaganza

Embrace the coastal influence by incorporating an array of seafood into your paella. Add succulent shrimp, tender mussels, and juicy squid rings to create a delightful seafood paella that will transport you to the shores of Valencia.

Vegetarian Delight

If you prefer a plant-based version, you can omit the chicken and boiled ham while adding a medley of colorful vegetables. Think roasted bell peppers, artichoke hearts, asparagus, and zucchini. The combination of flavors and textures will make for a vibrant and satisfying vegetarian paella.

Sausage Sensation

Give your paella a hearty twist by replacing the boiled ham with smoky chorizo or spicy Italian sausage. The bold flavors of the sausage will infuse the dish with a delightful richness, adding an extra layer of complexity.

Exotic Fusion

For those who enjoy culinary fusion, consider incorporating spices and ingredients from different cuisines. Add a touch of curry powder and garnish with fresh cilantro for an Indian-inspired paella, or include a hint of coconut milk and lemongrass for a Thai-inspired twist.

Proper Storage and Reheating Tips

If you happen to have leftovers of this delectable dish, it’s important to store them properly. Transfer the paella to an airtight container and refrigerate it within two hours of cooking. When reheating, ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature. It’s recommended to add a splash of water or broth to the paella before reheating to help restore moisture and prevent dryness.

With our Chicken and Boiled Ham Paella recipe in your culinary repertoire, you’re well on your way to creating heartwarming meals. Remember, the beauty of Paella lies in its versatility. Feel free to play around with ingredients, but never compromise on the quality of your rice. Happy cooking!