I love making paella.
It’s definitely not the easiest or the cheapest dish, but it’s quite good fun to make, you can put pretty much anything in it, and people are often really impressed by it because it sounds harder than it is.
If you can make risotto, you can definitely make paella – it’s a very similar dish, just without the cheese and with saffron, basically. I think you can use any risotto rice, but I often get the special spanish paella rice (calsparra rice) instead (because there’s no such thing as too much rice in the house). You only need a few threads of saffron, which is good because it’s bloody expensive – it comes in the same size pot as most herbs and spices, but it’s half the price and mostly empty. TC was nearly apoplectic when he realised that it was £720 per 100g!
Because you can put whatever in it you like, I often make it when I have a single chicken breast left over – not enough for a full meal by itself. I’ll throw some chorizo and prawns in, usually, and sometimes squid or mussels or mixed seafood. You could probably even make a beef paella if your heart so desired…
I have a proper paella pan (no such thing as too many kitchen gadgets) but you can use any wide-bottomed frying pan – as big as possible!
You can whip up some smaller tapas dishes for a starter, or just simple bread and oil if you prefer. I like to serve this with the white wine you put in the dish – well, you’ve opened the bottle so you may as well! Presenting it in the pan to the table is a great way to make an impact at a dinner party or date night.
This recipe serves 2, but you may well find you have some left over.
- Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
- Chorizo (about 2 inches, the ring not the slices)
- Onion (1, quite large)
- Garlic (2 cloves)
- Chilli flakes (to taste)
- Calsparra rice (250ml)
- White wine (125ml)
- Saffron (4-6 threads)
- Chicken stock (500ml)
- Chicken (1 breast)
- Red pepper (1)
- Cooked prawns (handful)
- Cherry tomatoes (half a dozen)
- Dice the onion and garlic finely. Chop the chorizo, red pepper, chicken breast, cherry tomatoes and parsley coarsley.
- Heat the olive oil in the saucepan/paella pan.
- Throw in the chorizo and fry until slightly crispy. Reduce the heat, add the onion, garlic, paprika and chilli flakes, and fry until softened.
- Up the heat a little, then add the rice to the pan and stir until it’s coated and glossy.
- Pour in the wine – it should sizzle.
- Add the saffron to the stock and stir. When all the wine’s been absorbed, pour the stock into the pan.
- Add the chicken and red pepper to the pan and stir to ensure it’s all submerged.
- Simmer until the rice is almost fully cooked (~20 minutes), stirring regularly to keep the rice from burning. If the pan gets too dry, add a little more water.
- Add the prawns and the tomatoes and stir. Cook for a few more minutes until the prawns are hot throughout.
- Sprinkle the parsley over the top and serve to the table in the pan.
See! Not as hard as you’d have thought! Get on impressing people with your epic cooking skills!
Do you think beef paella would work?