Upside-Down Mexican Paella

August 16, 2019

Recipe by Local Roots recipe contributor, Chef Casey Corn @casey_corn

Okay, this is not a true paella in any sense of the word. In fact, one of my chefs in culinary school would be having a conniption fit right about now if he heard me calling this dish "paella". So maybe we should call this "paell-ish". It's got rice, chorizo, and a crispy bit, but the flavors are all different, and the crispy part is on top, not on the bottom. Though this recipe only calls for two whole chicken legs, it can serve up to 8 people (and you can always add more chicken if you like!).

serves 4 - 8


2 ea whole chicken legs

1 lb turkey chorizo

3 c rice

4 c chicken stock

½ ea yellow onion

4 ea garlic cloves

2 ea poblano peppers

3 ea corn

1 Tbs dried oregano

1 Tbs paprika

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 + 1 Tbs olive oil

kosher salt



1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a very large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Season the chicken legs generously with kosher salt, then sear, starting skin side down. When golden, flip the chicken legs, and let sear again. When both sides are golden brown, transfer to a plate with any juices.

3. Place the skillet back on the heat. Either cut open chorizo casing, or squeeze the meat out to discard the casing. Brown the chorizo meat in the skillet, adding no extra oil, and breaking up as needed.

4. While chorizo is browning, prep your vegetables. Dice onion, remove core of poblanos and dice, and remove kernels from the ears of corn. Use a microplane to grate garlic.

5. When chorizo is browned, lower heat slightly and add onion, and if the chorizo has not released much fat, then also add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to combine, and saute the onions until they start becoming translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

6. Add poblanos, stir in, and saute for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the corn and the garlic, and stir in again. Cook for a couple minutes, then add spices. Stir to combine.

7. Sprinkle rice over the top, and stir in. Let the rice saute in all of the flavors for about a minute, then add chicken stock and stir together. Make sure everything is really well combined.

8. Bring the stock up to a simmer, then nestle in your chicken legs on top, skin-side up, and pour over any juices that have collected. Cover with foil, and place in oven.

9. Bake for 20 minutes, then check to see that the rice is cooked and has absorbed most, if not all, of the liquid.

10. Switch your oven to broiler, and place the skillet under uncovered. This will crisp up the chicken skin, as well as the rice on top. Keep an eye on it, and remove from the broiler when the chicken skin looks dry.

11. Serve!

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