I’m having severe withdrawals from summertime, I am clearly meant to live in the Caribbean, I’m just waiting for the universe to correspond to my wish list so for now, I guess I can always improvise?
There’s afew dishes that always remind me of holidays, the summer and generally warm memories of feeling hot as apposed to freezing my nips off and this is definitely one of them!
This is what happens to my face when I eat Paella……
All I need now is a wind machine and a saxaphone playing in the background and this is basically like soft food porn.
I’d say Paella is to the Spanish what stew chicken with rice and peas is to Jamaicans, there’s always somebody who’s going to say, “Ooooh you make yours like that do you, hmmm well it’s not as good as my Auntie, cousins,mothers, brothers, version.” Thing is this one is, because this particular recipe comes from my crazy friend Nerea, she’s half Spanish and grew up in a Spanish household so she knows her shit when it comes to Paella. I’ve watched her make this numerous times now and I’ve helped her make it alot of the time too so I’ve basically decided this is now my recipe (shhhh don’t tell her) I’ve tweaked it ever so slightly but the main base ingredients remain the same.
Ok so here’s what you’ll need…
serves 6 to 8
1 Spanish chorizo sausage (the above one is from Tesco)
1 500g packet of calasparra (spanish) rice (This can be hard to find so you can just use risotto rice instead which I used with this recipe it still tastes just as good)
3 chicken breasts
2 packets of raw king prawns
1 packet of mussels (I always use the ones from the packets that come with the garlic/shallot sauce which you can pick up from most supermarkets because the sauce that accompanies them is awesome)
1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp of paprika
1/2 tsp of thyme
50 ml of white wine
1 large cup of petits pois peas
1 red pepper
1 large white onion
4 garlic cloves
Good pinch of Saffron
1 & 1/2 pints of chicken stock
Lemon to garnish
Before we get started here, it’s a good idea to purchase a real paella pan, if you don’t have one already that is. It doesn’t have to be expensive, I typed Paella pans into the Google search bar and saw some going for as little as £6.50 so it’s worth getting one if you can. My pan measures exactly 38 cm. When you place the pan to the middle of the table it really adds to the whole authenticity and excitement of the dish.
Ok. so, first up, chop up all of your chicken, chorizo, onions and garlic.
Pour a large swig of olive oil into your pan wait until it’s hot then fry your chicken and chorizo on a medium heat until it’s all golden brown and basically looks like the above. This part is really important as you need to let the chorizo release all of its amazing oils which your raw rice will later be fried in.
Next push your chicken and chorizo to one side and add your garlic and onions into the same pan and fry for a further 3 minutes or so.
Next add your raw rice, (make sure you clean your rice first too!) I used the whole packet which was 500g you need to fry this all now for at least 7 minutes, then add your chopped tomatoes and peppers.
Then I added nearly all of my chicken stock leaving abit set aside just incase it was needed at a later point, I also added a large splash of white wine and sprinkled over the saffron and popped the lid on for it all to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes
So after about 20 minutes I lifted off the lid and the rice looked like below, so I let it simmer for a further 10 minutes until it was almost done then I added the the prawns and the mussels.
I added a big handful of the frozen petits pois and laid all the prawns and mussels out on top of the rice, the good thing about using the mussels from a packet is that it comes with an amazing sauce which I just add to the paella too
I popped the lid on again and let it simmer for a further 15 minutes, sprinkling some chopped parsley over it towards the end and thats pretty much it! Pretty easy right?
Serve it up and enjoy with a large glass of something alcoholic because alcohol is great!