Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: A Backyard BBQ Spanish Style! (Estilo Andaluz)

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This picture pretty much sums up my Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 post! My mami and I doing what we love to do; chit chatting, cooking, and laughing! We had the entire family over yesterday for a backyard bbq but instead of grilling burgers we did as they do in Spain, cook a beautiful seafood paella outside. Enough to feed the entire block!

In the states many people are led to believe that paella is a gourmet food served at fine establishments. In reality, paella is served at outdoor family gatherings, while camping, and at fairs and festivals. In the states, our visions of outdoor vendors include hot dogs, burgers and corn dogs. In Spain, vendors sell paella made in huge pans. They’re topped with crabs, shrimp and any kind of seafood and meat you can think of. They’re served huge and dished out to the many! As you can see, paella is more of a social food meant to be enjoyed in relaxed atmospheres while sipping on ice cold Sangria!

Paella originated in Valencia. Like many Spanish foods, it was originally a poor man’s dish. It was cooked outdoors on the open flame and eaten directly out of the dish using wooden spoons. Originally, paella was made with chicken, duck, rabbit and snails since seafood was hard to come by. Snails being the most common since it was so cheap. Today, paella is eaten throughout the entire world, however, Valencia still has pride over their dish and I’m told, the best paella in the world!

As for my family and I smack in the middle of the U.S.A., we do the best we can to replicate the recipes passed on through my family. Unfortunately, the seafood we find here has no comparison to what you can find in Spain and on the coasts of the U.S.A. Although the end result is still wonderful, it will never compare to what my family makes in Spain. As I stress so often, it comes down to ingredients. Fresh, local, wild seafood or local meats pastured by family farmers.

Wild Caught Shrimp from Hy-Vee

In order to be able to cook a large paella outside,
you’ll need a paella burner and a paella pan which can be purchased through

My mother and I started in the late afternoon, knowing very well we were going to be dining late. The boys had their final softball game and who can get in the way of that, right? Before I start on the recipe, I need to give all of the credit to my mother as she is truly amazing when it comes to cooking. She’s a natural. Like the rest of our family in Spain, she never uses a measuring cup. She just knows how much to add of this and that. Her only flaw is that she always forgets the salt, LOL! Ah, no importa (it doesn’t matter), she alway’s says, it can always be added later.

What I’ve learned is that the paella does take time to prepare. It’s done in stages and if done right, all of the work is well worth it. For our paella we used shrimp, mussels, and calamari.

The paella is done in 3 stages.

  1. Making your fish stock. (This is very important for a great tasting versus an ok paella.)
  2. The sofrito.
  3. Adding the fish stock and rice.

Stage 1. Making your fish stock
(We made a paella in an 18″ paella pan for 12. You’ll need to adjust accordingly)


  • 1 large white onion chopped
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • The shells of the shrimp you will be using in the paella
  • 10 cups water (for every cup of rice you use, you’ll need 2 1/2 cups of water)


  1. In a large pot, saute the onion, tomato and garlic until the onions are translucent and the tomato cooked down.
  2. Add the shrimp shells and heat for a few minutes.
  3. Add the water and boil gently for 30 minutes.
  4. This is the stock you’ll be using at the very last stage. At that time, you will need to empty the pot into a colander to seperate the juice from the shells and veggies.

Stage 2. Making the Sofrito

The sofrito is another important part of a great paella. A sofrito is the sauteeing of the main vegetable ingredients of the paella and cooking it down in fresh tomato’s. The seafood is then added into this to incorporate flavors before adding the fish stock and rice. It’s important to let the tomato condense to an almost paste before adding in the stock.


  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 large tomato’s, chopped


  1. Start the paella burner on medium heat.
  2. In the paella pan add the olive oil and peppers and cook for about 10 minutes stirring often.

  3. Once the green peppers have cooked through, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions start to turn translucent.

  4. Add the tomato’s and simmer, stirring often until the juices of the tomato’s have condensed to a paste.
  5. Once everything has turned into a paste, add the seafood you will be using and simmer for about 5 minutes incorporating the flavors. We added the shrimp, mussels, and calamari.
My mami and I

Stage 3. Adding the fish stock and rice

Now is the time to add the fish stock and rice! We’re almost done!!

The rice that is used to make authentic paella is called Bomba rice and can be purchased through or our local Gateway Market.

  1. Add 4 cups rice and 10 cups fish stock
  2. Add 2 pinches of saffron threads
  3. Add the juice of 1 lemon
  4. Add 3/4 cup frozen peas
  5. Make sure to spread the rice, veggies, and seafood out into the pan evenly
  6. Now is the time to leave it ALONE! Do not stir.
  7. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. You’ll start to hear crackling sounds which is okay!

While the rice is cooking, EAT! Fried Calamari

My nephew Xavier mowing down on fried calamari! He truly has Spanish blood!!

I love her!!

It’s almost ready!!

Done!! Garnish with steamed or boiled clams and shrimp!!

¡Que Paella!

Family gathered around to eat!

My favorite part. The crisp toasty bottom!!

To finish off the meal, flan!

Now that was definitely A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa! Buen Provecho!!

Paella Valencia on Foodista

33 Responses to "Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: A Backyard BBQ Spanish Style! (Estilo Andaluz)"
  1. Frank says:

    I have got to start cooking some of this stuff. Man…it looks good. I get fat just going to this site. Love the blog.

  2. Michelle {Brown Eyed Baker} says:

    Awesome post! I love the learning about the background of paella and how it's done authentically.

  3. Frank says:

    Wonderful, step-by-step explanation! I love paella and love making it… This one looks fabulous!

  4. Miranda says:

    This is extraordinary. I want to say, I am a little jealous. My mom and sibling all live in OH while I am in FL.I moved here three yrs. ago. It is hard. I would love to do huge cookouts like this with her….She is who inspired me. You are truly lucky.

    The other comment I have is that the Paella looks so incredible. I would love a HUGE bowl of that. But I would devour the calamari first.

  5. My Little Space says:

    It was so good having a family party once a while! I love it too! And your mom is a fabulous cook as well, isn't she? ha ha…The food look so delicious. How I wish I could be there too!

  6. Ruth says:

    Drool! The perfect outdoor meal! I remember being invited to a huge paella barbecue in Alicante once. And it was huge, the pan was the size of a house! I sat there anticipating the flavours of the seafood mixed with the chicken and rice! I was severly shocked when, instead, I was offered a huge plate of rabbit and snails paella, lol. Needless to say I devoured it nevertheless!

  7. Miriam says:

    Lovely post indeed!

  8. myblissfulbites says:

    Thank you for the step by step explanation and some of the paella history. I do love paella although I am sure I have never had one that comes close to your mom's. I'd take paella at a BBQ anytime!

  9. Donna says:

    Does your mom lives in Des Moines? You are so lucky to have a wonderful family, a great dog, and a chicken coop! :) I love you guys' aprons. I bet the poor man's is delicious. And I am right there with you on the seafood :( I had no idea until I recently went out for Sushi. I never truly appreciated the smell of salt air.

  10. The Duo Dishes says:

    Mmmm, all of it looks good! We know this post is about paella, but that calamari is just as tasty looking. Nice 24 post!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Love the pictures of you and your mom. You guys are so cute .


  12. Amanda James Dill says:

    Love the paella pics and recipe! How about some how to on that fried calamari? 😀 (Pardon if you already did that, I'm new!)

  13. Butterfly says:

    That was just great…thanks for the pics and recipe!!!!

  14. foodnfit says:

    Love all the pictures! The paella looks great!!!

  15. foododelmundo says:

    DANG Girl! That looks FABULOUS! I need to get a paella pan! Thanks for such a great post!

  16. pixen says:

    Oh my… I would love to be your neighbor! All those seafood were screaming at me! Do you think there's smaller paella pan available for small family of 4? Btw, why the rice is called Bomba?

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful event!

  17. tastyeatsathome says:

    Delicious! I love paella, and this looks so wonderful.

  18. Diana Bauman says:

    Thank you everyone for the comments! It really is so encouraging to hear your remarks. I think I know what I need to post next, homemade fried calamares!! Thanks for sharing in this day with me!

    Frank – You and Lisa are invited anytime!

    Miranda – That must be difficult. I know how important mothers can be especially when you have little ones.

    Donna – Yes, my mother does live here in Des Moines, only a few blocks away from me :)

    Amanda James Dill – Thanks for visiting!!

    foododelmundo – Thank you and thanks for stopping by!!

    Pixen – I'm not sure why it's called Bomba, lol! I'll have to check into that :)

  19. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Diana, what a wonderful 24,24,24 post! Fabulous paella!

  20. girlichef says:

    Amazing, amazing, amazing, AMAZING!!! What an awesome post…your paella must be out of this world! I'm so jealous. I would absolutely love to have an awesome paella pan and burner for my backyard…I'll have to go check them out. You & your mami look absolutely adorable in your Minnie Mouse aprons!

  21. girlichef says:

    …okay, I know it says Coca-Cola, but they're just so Minnie!! 😉

  22. Hummingbird Appetite says:

    What a great way to bbq! I envy you having a backyard paella!

  23. Bella says:

    Hi Diana, What an incredible, and informative post about paella. I have found the person that I need to ask this to: How do you make paella WITHOUT seafood, of which I am deathly allergic to. I want to try paella so badly, but it always has shrimp in it. I love all the pictures of the whole process and the family enjoying it. What a lovely heritage! Stop by again when you can. Amore, Roz (from Ames, Iowa originally)

  24. Joan Nova says:

    Being of Spanish ancestry, I can attest to the authentic preparation and recipe given here. I loved this post — from the aprons reminiscent of flamenco costumes to the happy faces to the 'late dining' estilo Español! Bravo, olé!

  25. Diana Bauman says:

    Thanks so much for the comments! It really does make my day :)

    Bella, I'll have to email you some directions. What you would want to do is make a chicken stock, fry up some chicken or other meats you would like to incorporate and at the point where you add the rice and stock, add your meat and let it take in the flavors for the last 20 or so minutes. It will be delicious!!

    Joan – Thanks so much!! You made me laugh at "late dining" So true!! In Spain, we go out to dinner at 10pm, lol! I love the nightlife in Spain… Sevilla :)

  26. Debra says:

    Cute aprons..

  27. Anonymous says:


  28. Anonymous says:

    I learned about paella a la Valenciana when I was in Spain in 1971. Since first eating paella, I've tried to make it, and never could equal what I ate along the Costa del Sol and on Ibiza, and I've never eaten it in a restaurant in the US where it was as good as the real Spanish stuff. Thanks for posting this recipe, because I'm going to try it. What could be better than an authentic recipe from an authentic Spaniard? Thanks a lot.

  29. Compañera :) Qué grande! Felicidades, tiene una pinta estupenda… Aunque aquí sean las 12.14 de la madrugada! salut des de Barcelona!

  30. Bobbie says:

    It came across your website while reading one of my favorite sites: It’s nice to see you do a REAL paella and it just looks so perfect! WE live in Spain

  31. Marianne says:

    I LOVED this post almost as much as I love paella :)) Thank you so much for sharing this :))

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