Nashville’s University School (USN) Evening Class Celebrates An Evening in Spain with a Paella Valenciana and Tapas Party!

As long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for cooking and eating paella. My Sicilian and North Delta Louisiana Heritage mixed with a touch of Cajun has inspired me to create an authentic paella with a Southern twist to share with friends and family. There are many varieties of paella and I encourage you to try recipes from different regions of Spain and pair with the many beautiful Spanish wines available to us today.

The University School of Nashville Evening Classes become available to sign up in yearly in December. This past Spring, I conducted two Paella Events for about 25 guests each at a home hosted by a USN family.


The Seafood, Chicken and Sausage Paella is always a hit for gatherings of all types! No one can resist the vibrantly colored and flavored paella with the crusty socarrat that has formed on the bottom of the pan.
USNPicMonkey Collage


Paella Valenciana or Paella Mixta with Seafood,Chicken and Sausaage
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Mixed Seafood, Chorizo, Pork and Chicken Paella Paella is considered the signature dish from Spain.
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 to 3 dozen mussels, cleaned and tightly closed
  • 12- 15 small clams, cleaned and tightly closed
  • About 5-1/2 cups Broth such as chicken, clam or fish
  • Olive oil, 6 to 8 T
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ t dried thyme and marjoram
  • 2 t Spanish smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 red bell pepper, charred over fire, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cups Bomba Rice (Valencia Rice)
  • chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges
  • salt/pepper
  • ¼ t saffron threads
  • ¼ lb cleaned squid and tentacles, tubes sliced into rings
  • ½ lb monkfish, grouper or other firm-fleshed fish, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb large shrimp, Southern Shrimp from Florida, Georgia, Louisiana or Texas
  • 4 to 6 chicken thighs
  • 4 to 6 chicken legs
  • ***Season chicken all over with olive oil, smoked paprika,garlic seasoning, lemon pepper
  • Bake in oven for 35 min at 375 degrees until crispy and done, Reserve for paella
  • (If you are adventurous, 2-1/2 lb rabbit, cut into pieces)
  • 4 links Chorizo, Fresh Mexican style or ¼ lb hard Spanish style or a combination of both
  • ¼ lb Local Smoked Ham or pork loin, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced *Best during the summer months with the freshest and tastiest produce
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Sofrito: 1 can of roasted tomatoes + sautéed onions and garlic
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas, 2 cups sliced green beans, garbanzos or big lima beans
  • Parsley, chopped
  1. Cook the chorizo. Remove from pan, cool and then slice, setting aside to add later.
  2. Remove some of the chorizo oil and add 6 T of olive oil.
  3. Cook onions and garlic over medium heat in the paella pan, adding the garlic after the onions have been cooking for a few minutes to keep garlic from burning.
  4. Add the rice to the onions and garlic and coat well.
  5. Crumble the saffron with your fingers into the rice.
  6. Add about half the broth and sofrito or tomatoes and bring to slow simmer.
  7. As the rice is absorbing, add broth as needed.
  8. Continue cooking the rice until just before al dente, begin arranging the cooked chicken, sausage, mussels and clams over the rice, pushing the shellfish gently into the rice, adding lemon juice at this point.
  9. Tent with foil for a few minutes, which helps the shellfish begin to open.
  10. Arrange and push shrimp around the pan and add the squid.
  11. Tent again until all seafood is done and most of the broth is absorbed.
  12. Garnish with peas, parsley, roasted red pepper slices, and lemon slices.
  13. ~Serve~
  14. *To form the Soccarat: once all of the ingredients had been arranged, do not stir anymore
  15. *Sofrito: there are many recipes available, but simply adding sautéed onions, garlic to the tomatoes
  16. Use 15" to 17" Paella Pan

All of the guests enjoyed the tapas while the paella was cooking. The tapas included warm and gooey Manchego and Serrano Ham Croquettes with Smokey Aioli,Piquillo Peppers stuffed with potatoes and crabmeat, and a selection of Spanish Cheeses and Marcona Almonds .

ManchegoPicMonkey Collage


TapasPicMonkey Collage

GuestsPicMonkey Collage

For dessert, the Chocolate Très Leche Cake was a great way to end this Spanish meal. If you want to know more about USN’s Evening Classes, check out the website.



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