Gluten-Free Paella with Chicken (Arroz con Pollo)

Serves 4 to 6

This gluten-free paella recipe might look a bit long and complex, but it actually takes under an hour to cook. The secret is having all the ingredients measured out and ready to use before you start. Using a traditional shallow paella pan works best because rice grains cook quickly in it and remain succulent but on the drier side (instead of getting steamed). If you don’t have one of these pans, use a large ovenproof skillet instead.


  • 10 to 12 chicken drumsticks (1½ pounds), tough tendons removed (see instructions, below)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika), divided
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ pound Chorizo Bilbao (vacuum-packed fresh Spanish sausages) or fresh garlic pork sausages, sliced
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups short grain white rice, such as Spanish Bomba or Calasparra (or Italian Arborio)
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) gluten-free chicken broth, simmering
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ pound pencil-slim asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 1 large red bell pepper, roasted and peeled (jarred is fine), thinly sliced


Heat the oven to 425° F. Place the drumsticks on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with 1 teaspoon pimentón and turn to coat both sides. (Seasoned chicken can be prepped ahead and refrigerated.) Roast until golden and just cooked through, about 30 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Transfer to a plate, season with salt and keep warm. Reduce the oven heat to 350° F.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a 15-inch paella pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 3 minutes. Add the sliced chorizo and cook for 5 minutes to release the fat. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes and remaining pimentón and cook for 1 minute.

Add the rice and stir to coat well. Crumble the saffron into the hot chicken broth, add the wine, and stir into the rice. Cook uncovered for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Most of the liquid should be absorbed, but the mixture should not dry out. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, fluff with a fork, taste and add salt if needed. Tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes to finish cooking.

While the rice rests, cook the asparagus in a skillet one-quarter filled with boiling water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain well and return to the empty, warm skillet. Season lightly with salt, add the sliced red pepper and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Toss gently over low heat.

Bury the drumsticks halfway in the rice and arrange the asparagus and sliced red bell pepper on top.

Prepping chicken drumsticks

This little-known technique makes drumstick meat tender instead of chewy. Using a sharp paring knife, cut through the skin just below the joint, all the way around. Pull out and cut the tough white tendons at the base. Holding on to the ends with a bit of paper towel, scrape along them (especially the single wide one) and cut off as much as you can. Tidy up the joint by removing the loose gristly bits. As the drumsticks cook, the meat will retract slightly up the bone and the remaining bits of tendon will virtually disappear.

Nutrition Analysis: 740 cal, 36 g fat, 125 mg chol, 62 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 41 g protein.

The author of more than a dozen cookbooks to date, Gluten-Free Living Contributing Editor Jackie Mallorca’s titles include The Wheat-Free Cook and Gluten-Free Italian.