Originating from the coastal Spanish town of Valencia, this is perhaps Spain’s most famous dish. Paella is a rice dish which is richer than pilaf, drier than a risotto and, in my opinion, far more satisfying than both! Many people are daunted at the thought of creating a paella dish. Worries of overcooking the rice or seafood and creating a stodgy mess, questioning if you are using enough stock, or have the correct rice versus protein balance. Well don’t panic! This simple, step-by-step recipe will ensure you create delicious version. If you are lucky enough to have tried Sam Gruar’s paella (La Rumbla owner and exec chef), this should be your benchmark on perfection. Enjoy!
PREP TIME: 20 mins
COOK TIME: 30 mins
SERVES: 6-8 people
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g good-quality raw chorizo
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika (use normal if don’t have smoked)
2 teaspoons oregano
3 bay leaves
2 cups uncooked short-grain rice
1 red pepper
1 litre good-quality chicken stock
1 pinch of saffron
16 green lip mussels
16 prawns, deveined
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
Juice of 2 lemons
1 good bunch flat leaf parsley
- Heat a BBQ to a high heat and place the red pepper on the open grill. Char all over and pop into a paper bag or plastic bag and set aside.
2. Heat the chicken stock with the pinch of saffron.
3. Take a very large fry pan or paella pan and heat on the BBQ to a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
4. Tip in the chopped chorizo and fry until juices are starting to release into the oil and starting to brown a little. Next add in the onions, paprika, bay leaf and oregano. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, ensuring it does not brown.
5. Tip in two cups of rice and combine and cook for 3-or-so minutes until rice is becoming translucent.
6. Stir in half the chicken stock, until absorbed, then add in more and mix through. Remove the peppers from the bag and peel and slice. Add in the tomatoes and peppers to the mix.
7. Next add in the mussels and mix through the rice mixture and put a lid on. Cook for 3-4 minutes then open lid and add in the clams and prawns. Mix thoroughly and put lid back on. When the clams and mussels open they will release lots of salty juice that the rice will absorb.
8. After another 3-or-so minutes, check if all shellfish is open. Also check the rice and if too al dente, add more stock and pop lid back on for a couple more minutes. Be careful not to overcook the seafood.
9. Remove from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. Taste and season. I like to add a little cayenne pepper here just for a bit of heat, but this is not traditional.
10. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with lemon wedges.