Friday, 1 July 2011

Forgive me - paella

Paella is an all in one dish, full of flavour, and very impressive on the table. The paprika and garlic flavours give a light punch, with a squeeze of fresh lemon giving a lovely zingy edge. Saffron gives a pale buttery yellow colour...  turmeric can be substituted, but a very small amount, the flavour of saffron is light and turmeric in too large a quantity may leave a slightly bitter taste.

Rice dishes like paella and risotto can end up like a savoury rice pudding if you’re not careful. So I looked at an assortment of recipes carefully. As usual I’ve made a combo of several, and cooked what’s sometimes called free-style paella. It mixes chicken, chorizo and prawns. What is particularly nice about this recipe, is that you can do most of the cooking in advance.

I made a vast amount, to fit in my long owned but never used paella pan, 60cm across. The principle is the same whatever size pan you use. Of course, when cooking on gas, a smaller pan makes things easier. I doubt you'll have any leftovers.

If you use skinless chicken thighs, you can buy it off the bone, or get it with bones in and use them to make stock. You don’t want any skin, so use this and the bones to make stock if you like, or use bouillon if you like.

I marinaded the chicken in garlic, paprika and lemon the day before. I didn't marinade the prawns... but might next time.

Paella rice is round, like risotto rice. Delia Smith gives the lowdown on rice here Like any specialist rice, you can buy very expensive types or medium expensive: I opt for the latter because I’m a cheapskate and a culinary vandal. Disculpeme, lo siento etc… remember, paella is easier to make than you might think.

I’m giving a quantity you can make in a large frying pan for four. If you’ve got a good size paella pan, scale it up and enjoy yourself.

150g piece chorizo, halved lengthways and sliced
4 large chicken thighs, skin removed, boned and cut into large chunks
12 large prawns, or as many as you want to include
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Pinch of saffron (about 15 threads)
1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
300g paella or risotto rice
1 glass white wine
1 litre chicken stock (and a bit), hot
1 red peppers and 1 yellow peppers, deseeded and sliced
75g frozen peas (a mugful)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (or 3 large fresh ones, chopped)
1 bunch (min 25g pack) chopped flatleaf parsley, stems discarded
1 lemon cut into wedges, to serve

Marinade for chicken
1 tsp paprika
Large pinch salt
Generous grindings black pepper (I sometimes use mixed red/pink/green/black peppers)
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon

Cut the chicken thighs into large pieces (put skin and the bones aside if you have them), mix with marinade and set aside, leave for at least an hour, or overnight.

  • Prepare your stock, with a slug of white wine, adding the saffron once you have taken it off the heat, to infuse
  •  Put a large, deep frying pan on a medium heat
  • Add the chopped chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the oil has been released
  • Remove and set aside, leaving fat in the pan
  • Cook the diced chicken in the chorizo fat for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until coloured on all sides
  • Remove, leaving fat in the pan and set aside with the chorizo
  • Pour a little olive oil into the pan, and add the onions and peppers, until they soften, about  5 minutes
  • Add the garlic and paprika, together with a handful of chopped parsley, and cook for about a minute
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and cook for another minute, stirring
  • Add the rice and mix gently with the veg, until it’s mixed with the veg and oil
you’ll have the meat, the stock and the rice mixture ready to go

  • In the pan over a medium heat, stir the rice mixture gently, add the hot stock and simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Return the chicken to the pan, pushing it into the rice mixture, and cook for 5 minutes, adding a little more stock or hot water if necessary
  • Season and gently stir in the chorizo, thawed peas, and prawns the chorizo and the rest of the parsley
  • Continue to cook for about 5 minutes (or until the prawns are cooked) without stirring – a little stickiness on the underside adds to the flavour
Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over


No comments:

Post a Comment