Paella with chicken and olives in a hot plate being served into a ceramic bowl

Chicken and Olive Paella

This classic Spanish Paella is loaded with chicken, olives, spinach and lots of fresh herbs and spices. Although similar to Italian Risotto, Paella is not stirred and so the rice is left to cook slowly over low heat until the liquids are absorbed. I use a hot plate to cook this paella evenly throughout.

Chicken and Olive Paella is one of many types of paella dishes that I love to make, but because you need a large flat pan that has to cook the rice evenly, I used to only really have the opportunity to cook it over a campfire.

But then I discovered this amazing Bruno Hot Plate.  The plate has a lip so that it can hold liquids and it heats nice and evenly across the surface.  Suddenly, I have found that I am able to prepare all types of paella – seafood, beef, and of course this amazing Chicken and Olive Paella. Of course, you can cook this in a frypan or on the stove, but it comes out perfect using the hot plate and it’s oh so easy to make.

The rice that is used for Paella is a short grained absorbent rice, similar to the Italian Arborio or Carnaroli rice that is used for risotto, but it’s usually made with a Spanish Rice known as Bomba rice.  Bomba is very absorbent and the rule of thumbs is to use a 3:1 ratio of liquid to rice (3 cups of liquid for every cup of rice).

Chicken and Olive Paella on a hot plate
Chicken and Olive Paella

If you are substituting for a different type of rice, be very careful to check how much liquid should be used.  Because Bomba rice is so absorbent, the grains are loaded with flavor after cooking.  For Chicken and Olive Paella I use a rich chicken flavor consommé as the liquid to really create an intensely flavored paella.

Between the brine in the olives and the consommé there is plenty of salt. So there is no need to add additional salt to the dish. I use saffron threads for both flavor and color, although it’s not necessary to use a lot of saffron because the chicken consommé already has a nice yellowish color to it that the saffron threads subtly add to.


Chicken and Olive Paella

Chicken and Olive Paella is prepared on an electric hot plate or over the stove in a flat bottomed frypan.  Because paella is not stirred, it’s best to use a pan that heats evenly or the paella will not cook consistently.  This paella uses olives, spinach, chicken and Spanish Bomba rice plus consommé and a number of other herbs and spices.  You can also add mushrooms, however I omitted them from this recipe because of the size of my hot plate – the recipe as prepared nearly filled it to the brim.  Enjoy this incredible paella and let me know what you think in the comments section.

10 minutes 30 minutes Serves 3 to 4
PREP 10 minutes
COOKING 30 minutes
YIELD Serves 3 to 4
Paella with chicken and olives in a hot plate being served into a ceramic bowl


  • 3/4 cup paella rice (Spanish Bomba Rice)
  • 1 boneless chicken thigh, skin on, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 of a 9.5oz bottle of Spanish Green Olives stuffed with pimentos (about 1 cup)
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken consommé
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 sprig thyme, stem removed
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil for cooking (not shown)

Chicken and Olive Paella Ingredient Board

Chicken and Olive Paella Ingredients after prep work Laid out in bowls
Chicken and Olive Paella Ingredients after prep work


  • Sauté the garlic and shallots in the olive oil on a hot plate over high heat.  Stir for 3-4 minutes until the shallots are soft and translucent.
  • Add the diced chicken and sauté until just white on the outside.

Chicken, shallots and garlic stir fried on a hot plate in oil

  • Add the white wine and stir in with the chicken for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the thyme. White pepper and saffron.  Continue to sauté until the wine is reduced by half.

Sautéed chicken in wine and spices on a hot plate

  • Add the chicken consommé.
  • Gently add the rice to the consommé spooning in evenly across the surface.
  • Add the olives in, evenly across the surface.
  • Add the spinach in, evenly across the surface.
  • Sprinkle the green onions evenly over the dish.
  • Use a wooden spoon to gently press the greens into the liquid.

Pressing the greens into the consommé with a wooden spoon

  • Do not stir.  Bring to a boil and lower the heat to low.
  • Cook on low, uncovered, over a gentle boil for 20-25 minutes until the rice is softened.

Paella in the hot plate after 25 minutes once the rice has softened

  • Once the rice is soft and the consommé is mostly absorbed, turn the hot plate back up to high for 2 minutes.  Do not stir the paella.
  • Remove from heat and cover.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

Paella after serving

Chicken and Olive Paella in a bowl with a spoon on the left and a wooden cup of tea on the right
Chicken and Olive Paella


  • For best results, do not stir the rice – let it sit and cook slowly.  If you find the edges of the cooking surface are not as hot as the middle it’s okay to gently stir the paella to redistribute the heat.
  • Leftovers can be refrigerated.  Reheat over a stove with a little liquid.
  • The burned rice at the bottom of a paella pan is called socarrat. Some people love it and others do not.  If you enjoy the socarrat, then turn the paella up to high heat for 3-4 minutes before serving so the bottom begins to burn.


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