Paella

Paella

The word paella comes from the name of the pan it is made in — the Latin term patella, a flat plate on which offerings were made to the Gods. If you would like to make a vegetarian version; use vegetable stock instead of chicken and substitute cooked white beans, chargrilled aubergine, artichoke hearts and piquillo peppers for the seafood and chicken. Paella is a great one “pot” classic Spanish dish that originated in Valencia, although they are numerous versions throughout Spain. As a general rule the nearer the coast the more seafood is used whilst further inland they feature meat such as rabbit and chicken. In this recipe the Andalucian Sauce can be used as a Soffrito. Traditionally it is cooked in a shallow cast-iron pan, cooked outside over a boxwood fire. The pan can be picked up very cheaply in Spain so pick one up the next time you’re on holiday!

Serves 2

3 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless and boneless chicken thighs or breast fillets, each cut into eight pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
200g Spanish short grain rice (Calasparra, La Bomba or paella rice)
100g raw chorizo, outer casing removed and chopped small dice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tbsp Andalucian Sauce Paste
good pinch saffron strands, soaked in a little white wine or water
2 bay leaves
400g can whole peeled or chopped tomatoes
1 litre hot chicken stock
8 whole raw king prawns
20 large clams and /or mussels, cleaned
8 small cherry tomatoes
½ red pepper, seeded and cut in batons
100g petit pois (fresh or frozen)
1 lemon, quartered
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lightly dressed rocket salad and crusty bread, to serve

Heat some olive oil in a paella pan, add the chicken and saute for 1–2 minutes until sealed and lightly golden. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and sauté until slightly caramelised. Add the rice, chorizo and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and Andalucian Sauce Paste and sauté for another few minutes.

Return the chicken to the rice mixture and stir in the saffron liquid, bay leaves, canned tomatoes and pour in the stock — it should come to the level of the rice, breaking down the tomatoes as necessary.

Add the prawns to the pan along with the clams and/or mussels and red pepper batons. Ensure ingredients in the pan are just covered with the stock but no more. Scatter over the cherry tomatoes and season to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the rice is completely tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Sprinkle the petit pois over the paella for the last few minutes of cooking, then garnish with the lemon wedges. Serve the paella straight to the table with a bowl of rocket salad and a basket of crusty bread.