Paella can be a simple or very elaborate dish. This recipe is a little more elaborate, but the pricier ingredients can be omitted or substituted to your taste.
TO DRINK: Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer works really well with seafood dishes, as the name suggests. It’s complex, smooth and has a long finish.
- a pinch of saffron threads
- 60ml Spanish olive oil
- 600g boneless and skinless
- chicken thighs
- 100g chorizo, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 6 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 5ml (1 tsp) paprika
- 500g short-grain rice (see Rudi’s Tips)
- about 1,25 litres hot chicken stock
- 400g – 500g mussels, scrubbed
- 150g calamari
- 6 – 8 whole prawns, deveined
- 3 – 4 crayfish tails
- 6 – 8 langoustines, deveined
- 100g frozen peas
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
Place the saffron in a tablespoon and gently heat to release the aroma. Crush the threads and set aside.
Heat 30ml (2 tbsp) of the olive oil and brown the chicken. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan, heat 30ml (2 tbsp) of the olive oil and add the chorizo, garlic and bay leaves, and cook over a very gentle heat for about 2 minutes.
Add the onion and the peppers, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and paprika, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken and rice and let it cook for a few minutes. Stir the saffron into the chicken stock and pour it over the rice. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 – 12 minutes.
Add the seafood and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. If the rice is still firm add a little more stock. It is important that the pan must be shaken only and not stirred.
When the crust has formed on the base after about 30 minutes, add the peas and fold them in to heat through. Let the paella rest for about 10 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.
• Use the best saffron threads available and not saffron powder.
• Instead of chicken thighs, you can also use drumsticks.
• Paella is traditionally made with shortgrain rice which absorbs the liquid but stays firm. Use Spanish bomba rice if you can get it, otherwise medium-grain rice will work. Italian arborio rice will also do, but will result in a slightly stodgy paella. Don’t wash the rice beforehand.
• If you don’t have a paella pan, it is important to use a large shallow pan. As the rice is the most important part of the dish, as much of it as possible must touch the surface of the pan. (F&HE likes AMC Cookware’s 30cm Paella Pan.)
• The heat source must cover the whole of the bottom of the pan.
• The only time that paella can be covered is during the final resting period.
• Paella should never be stirred.
• Take the paella to the table in the pan where everyone can help themselves.
• As a variation, use green beans instead of peppers; rabbit instead of chicken; or add clams or monkfish to the seafood mix.