Papa Louie’s Paella Negro


Spoon West Original Recipe

by Mark Louie (AKA Papa Louie)

The Ingredients:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Italian or Spanish only
  • ½ lb Unsalted Butter
  • 3.5 Oz Chorizo Must be the dry/cured style .. not fresh made. (you can use more, but not less than 3 Oz.)
  • 1 large Yellow Onion
  • 2 heads Garlic (large cloves are best)
  • 2 large Peppers, fresh – Hungarian or Cubanelle (large are at least 3” long)
  • 1 envelope Yellow rice seasoning (without rice) I use Vigo brand. (It comes with 3 tiny packs in a card.)
  • 1 pkg Saffron, Vigo brand (comes in a tiny round plastic box of about 50 threads)
  • Plain Flour
  • Kosher salt (use other salts at your own risk)
  • Black pepper
  • ½ cup Kikkoman teriyaki marinade
  • 1 cup Chinese black long grain rice Not the glutinous or sweet type. (get it at a Chinese market)
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice (get it at a Chinese market. Long grain, unbroken)
  • 2 bottles Clam juice
  • 1 qrt Chicken stock
  • 1 bottle White wine, dry (don’t use cooking wine. I use Carlo Rossi Chablis)
  • 1 lb Shrimp (fresh, peeled & de-veined)
  • 1 dozen Clams (fresh, the smaller the better)
  • 1 dozen Mussels (fresh, tight & heavy)
  • ½ lb Salmon fillet – skin on (if you like more salmon…feel free to use more)
  • 1 lb Crawfish (frozen steamed Cajun style) These are mostly for garnish. You will need 1 per person & I snack on the rest while cooking
  • 1 lb Chicken thighs (fresh, bone in with skin)
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley…chopped medium
  • 1 pkg Frozen small English peas


  •  3” to 4” deep pan, casserole, Dutch oven, etc that has a tight lid & will hold
  • at least 6 quarts.
  • 2-3 quart heavy saucepan or saucier.  This item will get a workout today.
  • 5-quart casserole with lid.  I use Le Creuset # 27
  • Restaurant style half-sheet or similar baking sheet (at least 13” X 9”)
  • Aluminum foil, heavy duty
  • Zip Lock bag (I use gallon size)


Onions: Fine dice and set aside

Peppers: Seed, devein, fine dice & set aside

Chorizo: Must be the dry, cured style.  NOT FRESH. Peel (if needed) and slice into thickness of a nickel

Garlic: Peel & fine chop (DO NOT PRESS)

Salmon: Rinse in cold water & pat dry with paper towels and place in suitable zip lock bag.  Add ½ cup of teriyaki marinade & seal tightly by pressing out air.  Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (turning once).

Clams  & Mussels: Wash in cold water to remove grit & dirt.  Hold in refrigerator by placing in container & covering with damp towel.

Chicken: Rinse in cold water & pat dry with paper towels.  Dredge in flour & set aside.

Oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The Methods:

Shrimp: Place shrimp in bowl & add a little black pepper and 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic.  Mix well & cover with plastic wrap & place in refrigerator.

Chicken: Salt & pepper chicken thighs, then dredge in flour. Shake off all excess flour.  Heat the 5-quart casserole to medium; add 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Brown the chicken well.  Pour off excess oil & add ½ of the chopped onion & 1.5 to 2 cups white wine.  Simmer to reduce wine slightly.  Cover & place in oven for about 20 minutes.  The meat should pull easily from bone when done.  Remove chicken from bones, cover & set aside.

Sofrito: Reduce oven heat oven to 325 degrees.  On the stove top, heat the largest (6 qrts) casserole to medium.  Add 2 generous tablespoons of olive oil and about a tablespoon of the garlic, half of the onion, & all of the peppers.  Add chorizo & about 10 or 15 threads of saffron.  Heat until onions are limp and onions are clear and chorizo has released its oil and red color.

Add all of the Rice and stir until all of the rice is lightly coated with oil & begins to toast.  Add clam juice & stir.  Add chicken stock to cover rice by about ¾ inch.  That’s roughly the distance between the tip of my index finger and its first knuckle.

Bring the goods to a light boil, stirring only once; i.e. to keep stuff from sticking to the pan.  Cover tightly with lid or foil & place on middle shelf of oven for 20 minutes.   When the rice is done, remove from oven, sprinkle a handful of frozen peas over the rice, return cover & place in a warm spot.  Resist temptation to stir at this point.

Salmon: Increase oven heat to 400 degrees.  Remove salmon from marinade & pat dry.

Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil & rub some olive oil over the foil.  Place salmon, skin side down on foil & bake for 20 minutes.  When done, cover tightly with foil & place aside.

Clams & Mussels: Heat large saucepan to medium high.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 Tablespoons butter (more of each is good…less is not good).  Add 4 cloves finely chopped garlic, ¼ cup parsley, a pinch of salt & 4 grinds of black pepper. Add 2 – 3 cups of Chablis.

When boiling begins, add clams & cover with tight lid.  Wait a couple of minutes & then add the mussels & cover with tight lid.  When all clams & mussels are wide open, remove from heat.  This whole process may take 5 minutes; i.e. depending on how fast everything opens.  Anything that refuses to open should be thrown out.   

Feel free to dip hunks of French bread in the juice & have a glass of wine.

Shrimp: Almost forgot the shrimp!!  Okay, preheat a wok as hot as you can get it. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut or canola oil.  At the point where the oil just begins to smoke, toss in the shrimp & toss till done.  Shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes.  Add a pinch of salt at the end & remove from heat.

Crawfish: Steam until reheated completely through.


You can probably fit everything in the casserole that the rice was cooked in, but I like to find a nice, large ceramic bowl for presentation.  I have a Mexican terracotta bowl that has a dark green ceramic finish.

So, stir the rice gently to get it fluffy…not too much.  Add all of the prepared ingredients & garnish with the crawfish & a little bit of chopped Italian parsley.