I know that I’ve been a little quiet of late – I’ve been rather busy – but I can now share with you the deliciousness I have been making. And first up, (drumroll please!) is paella. I love paella. I’m not sure I can quite express how much I love paella, but it’s up there with chocolate, which is saying something.
I am lucky enough to have some Spanish family, so my lust for paella is often (but briefly) sated by the amazing and enormous pan-fuls of it that can been found out there. But if you love something that much, the best thing you can do is learn how to cook it! Now normally, I use special paella flavouring packets from Spain, but despite not having any, this paella recipe is out of this world!
I didn’t manage to get many pictures of the amazing colours as it cooked, as I was too busy eating straight from the pan (oops!) but I shall try and paint a word picture of the glorious way it looks and smells whilst it cooks.
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 chicken thighs or drumsticks
3tbsp smoked paprika
Pinch of salt
150g chorizo, thickly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
1.5 litres of hot chicken stock (in 2 batches of 750ml)
A small pinch of saffron
300g paella (bomba) rice
A few slices of lemon
I’ve made ‘seafood’ so open because it completely depends on you. Personally, I think it’s nicest with 300g mussels, 8 king prawns, and 100g fresh squid rings. However that can be fairly expensive, so on this occasion I went for a pack of cooked prawns, mussels and squid, which was still delicious. It’s up to you!
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Put the chicken into a smallish ziplock bag and add 1tbsp of the smoked paprika, a pinch of salt, some pepper, and a splash of oil. Do it up and give it a nice shake to cover the chicken in the flavouring. Then pour the chicken pieces onto a baking tray and cook them for about 30 mins. Personally, I don’t like to turn them as it gives them a nice crispy skin, but make sure they are completely cooked before removing them, and if you aren’t sure, chuck them back in the oven for another 5/10 mins.
Meanwhile, grab a paella pan or large frying pan and fry the chorizo pieces in a drop of oil on a medium heat – this will smell incredible – until they are crispy and the oil has turned a delicious orangey colour. Then add the onions and garlic and continue to cook until soft and golden. It will look like a slightly frothy, golden but oh so wonderful mess of crispy chorizo and soft onions (so delicious….this is almost too much for me, I may have to go and lie down for a moment!)
Whilst that’s frying away, if you can drag yourself away, infuse half the stock (one of the 750ml batches) with the saffron, and once the onion/chorizo wonderfulness is cooked, add this stock, the paella rice, the rest of the smoked paprika and the turmeric. Cook it for about 20 minutes, stirring only occasionally, without a lid, until there is almost no liquid left.
Then, add the rest of the stock, the peas and the seafood, and half cover. Leave to cook for about 15 minutes, until most of the water has been absorbed, except a delicious sauce (it’s up to you how saucy you like it!). Whilst it’s cooking the amount of stirring you do is up to you, but tradition dictates that it is hardly stirred at all, leaving a delicious crust on the bottom called the ‘socarrat.’ Trust me, it takes the paella into a different world!
Once cooked, top with the chicken pieces and a few slices of lemon and serve!