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Darryl's Competition Winning Paella

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This spicy seafood and smoked meat paella won a Throwdown style competition in 2015 when Philadelphia chef and FoodNetwork Throwdown contestant, Delilah Winder of Delilah's Restaurant, surprised and challenged Darryl Smith to a paella competition in front of over 200 guests at Darryl's annual Memorial Weekend Party. Darryl's spicy paella won over the crowd and the judges! This recipe has a seafood mixture of lobster, scallops, shrimp, fish, mussels and clams along with spicy smoked pork sausage and chicken and is simmered in a spicy homemade shellfish stock. Darryl uses arborio rice for his competition version of this dish.

Darryl's Competition Winning Paella

  • Servings: 10 oz
  • Yield: 10-12 servings
  • Prep Time: 1 hr 15 min
  • Cooking Time: 1 hr


  • 1 lb dense spicy pork sausage, like andouille, sliced on a bias, about ½" thick
  • Four 8 oz lobster tails, quartered
  • 4 – 5 boneless chicken thighs, chopped into 1” pieces
  • 1 lb firm white fish, like orange roughy, chopped into 1” chunks
  • 1 lb diver scallops, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp, 15-20 count, peeled and deveined
  • 1 dozen little neck clams, fresh is best (frozen is fine)
  • 1 lb black mussels, fresh is best (frozen is fine)
  • One roasted red pepper, cut into 1” strips
  • 1 red bell, 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • One lemon, quartered
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup green peas (frozen is fine)
  • 6 cups shellfish (or chicken) stock, seasoned with 1 teaspoon Spanish saffron threads, and 1 tablespoon Sambal Olek chili paste, simmered
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt, cracked black pepper and Cajun spice to taste


  1. In a 24” round paella pan or your largest sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the pork sausage, browning on all sides.
  2. Remove the sausage, and add the onions, bell peppers and celery and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Push the mixtures to the edges of the pan and add the chicken to the center of the pan, browning lightly on both sides. Season with Cajun spice.
  4. Add the sausage back into the pan and incorporate all of the ingredients.
  5. Again, push the mixture to the edges and add the fish, lobster and scallops to the center of the pan and lightly brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Season with Cajun spice.
  6. Reincorporate all of the ingredients with the fish and again push the mixture to the edge of the pan.
  7. Add the arborio rice to the center and allow to coat with the pan juices, then incorporate the rice with the mixture.
  8. Add the spicy saffron flavored stock, about 2 cups at a time and stir the entire mixture to distribute the rice evenly.
  9. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and simmer on low, medium heat for 15 minutes.
  10. Add the shrimp, clams and mussels in a spiral pattern, cover with the foil and allow the shellfish to steam open for 5 – 7 minutes.
  11. Squeeze the juice of the quartered lemons into the mixture and wedge the lemons around the pan
  12. Add the roasted pepper strips and the peas last to maintain the bright color, turn off the heat and cover with foil for 10 minutes to rest before serving.

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