Paella

Since paella recipes vary depending upon what might be available, this should be treated as a guideline. Apparently some people get upset with chorizo in a paella but if you don’t call it Paella Valenciana, you might get away with it. I like it and it seems very Spanish though to be authentic, you should probably omit it.

This recipe, with a combination of meat and seafood, would be a paella mixta and it is how I like to make it for a dinner party. As a daily dinner, I make it simply with chicken, chorizo and prawns. Naturally, you can change the green vegetable – fine beans, halved, for example.

When adjusting the quantities for a different number, keep the total liquid quantity twice that of the rice.

Planning

serves: 6
preparation time: 30 mins
cooking time: 60 mins

Ingredients

  • 4-6 langoustines (1 each – or large crevettes)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small chicken (~2 lbs)
  • 1 chorizo sausage, chunked
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 12 oz paella (bomba) rice
  • 30 fl oz water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch saffron threads soaked in another 6 fl oz warm water
  • 8 oz peas, shelled
  • 6 oz large prawns
  • 1 net mussels
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Scrub, de-beard and steam the mussels until only just opened. Remove most of the mussels from their shells but keep a few whole for decoration, if you like. Cut the chicken up into large-bite-size chunks. Bone the leg meat but joint the wings and leave the wing bones in.

In a large, deep frying pan (a paella pan if you happen to have one), heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the chicken and chorizo chunks and fry them for about 10 minutes until the chicken is brown. Remove the chicken and chorizo from the pan. The chorizo should have flavoured and coloured the olive oil beautifully.

Add the onion and red pepper to the pan and fry for 5-10 mins until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add salt, pepper and paprika stir in, then add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or so until the tomatoes turn to pulp and the mixture thickens a little.

Add the rice to the pan and, stirring frequently, cook it for 3 mins until the grains become a little transparent. Add the water, lemon juice and the saffron mixture and bring to the boil. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan and add the shelled peas. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 20 mins or so, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Stir in the prawns and shelled mussels and cook for another few mins until just done – about 5 minutes. If you want the bottom of the rice toasted, as the Spanish do, do this last bit over higher heat.

Meanwhile, either cook (if raw) or reheat (if precooked) the langoustines/crevettes. Either way, 1 minute in boiling water should suffice.

Remove the pan from the heat and decorate with the langoustines and mussels in their shells. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and serve immediately with copious quantities of dry white Spanish wine.


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