Introduction: Paella

An authentic (ish) Spanish paella that works every time.

Step 1: You Will Need

a paella pan

(or a big frying pan would do)

This one is 12" across, and makes enough paella for 6 people.

NB: To feed more people you need a bigger pan, because later on it gets pretty full.

Step 2: And Saffron

Which is reputed to be more expensive, pound for pound, than gold.

Which is a pity, because we need a good lot of it.

Thankfully, if you hunt around you can get a box of genuine Mancha saffron (like the pic) - enough for half a dozen paellas - for about two quid. UK residents can google SPICESWAREHOUSE.COM.

Step 3: Some Suitable Music

Today we'll be using Yasmin Levy's Mano Suave, a heady blend of Spanish, Jewish and Arabic influences. Although a bit melancholy, it goes really well with paella.

(We will get to the recipe soon I promise.)

Step 4: Gather Up Your Ingredients

1.5 pts stock (one and a half pints = about a litre)
2 tbspns olive oil
2 chicken breasts cut in pieces
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 each red, green & yellow pepper
200g jar Seeds of change tomato puree with basil
12 oz paella rice (about 3/4 of a packet)
4 oz frozen peas
5 oz chorizo, sliced
bag of mixed prawns, mussels, etc

Step 5: What Ingredients to Choose

I'm using some sexy Spanish rice my niece brought back from Andalucia, but you can use any suitable rice.

BUT it must be the round grain type suitable for paella - not long grain or Basmati or anything like that.

I've got four coloured peppers - the colour is part of the attraction of the finished dish.

I'm using Marigold to make my stock - but you can use any light stock.

I'm using a 200g jar Seeds of change tomato puree with basil - but you can use any tomato passata or puree you like. If you have luscious ripe plum tomatoes where you live like we don't :-( you can use fresh ones deskinned and chopped.

I'm using a pack of frozen mixed seafood: this gives you a mix of prawns and squid and mussels and things without having to buy huge amounts of each.

I've got some cheapo German chorizo* this time. Mistake. I'll get proper Spanish next time. Buy a proper sausage and chop it - don't mess with that chopped stuff you get on deli counters: it tastes of nothing.

  • Say it this way: CHOREETHO - ch as in church and the Spanish z is always 'th'. Don't make yourself look silly by saying CHORITSO or KORITSO.

Step 6: OK - Let's Get Cooking

Defrost shellfish & frozen peas.
Make 1.5 pints stock. Add a good-sized pinch of saffron strands. Leave for 30 mins.

Step 7: Fry Chicken

Heat 2 tbspns olive oil in a paella pan
Cut chicken breasts into pieces.
When oil reaches right temp, fry chicken for 15 mins till golden brown.
Use a spatter guard!!!

Step 8: Fry Onions

Chop garlic. Chop onions.
Remove chicken pieces when they are golden brown and reserve them.
Fry garlic and onions for 5 mins (sorry - forgot to take pictures of that bit!)
Chop peppers. Add to pan. Cook for 10 mins. Turn down heat.

Step 9: Add Tomato

Add a jar of Seeds of Change tomato & basil puree. Cook 5 mins.
Chop chorizo.

Step 10: OK, Get Serious - This Is the Bit Where You Can Go Wrong

Turn up heat. Add stock. Bring it to rolling boil.
Add rice.

You MUST put the rice into BOILING liquid: if you don't it may not cook through properly.

Stir it in a bit, and cook 5 mins.

Step 11: Looks Nice Already, Doesn't It?

Stir in 4oz peas and chorizo. Turn down heat.
Add chicken.
Simmer 25 mins, stirring occasionally.

Step 12: Add Shellfish

Add bag of shellfish and its liquid.

Stir it in a bit.

Cook 15 mins more.

Step 13: Finish Off

Turn off heat.
Cover and leave to rest 5 mins.
Sprinkle chopped parsley over
Serve to waiting punters.

Step 14: How the Dish Will Look After You've Served Up the Food...

None left.


It happens every time.


Step 15: One Thing I Forgot to Say...

Just a small thing.

What you have just made is NOT a paella - sorry about that. It is un arroz.

A true paella is:

i) made outdoors
ii) made by a man
iii) never stirred

But who cares? It tastes just as good.

One more small thing: this is only one version - there are hundreds different all over Spain. So feel free to be creative - add in any old stuff you've got lying around. Try this basic version first though.

Here's the whole recipe as a pdf. Actually, you could have just downloaded the pdf at the beginning and skipped the rest. Still, the pictures were fun, weren't they?

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