Friday, 22 October 2010

Recipe : Paella

It seems that like Bolognese, everyone has their own Paella recipe, so not being one to shirk convention here’s mine

OK, so I developed this one by looking at various recipes for paella, taking those basic principles and then adding ingredients that I liked.

As you’ll notice from the picture attached I have a paella pan, woo get me.
Anyway this caused me much consternation as my first attempt to cook with it brought about the realisation that a massive pan requires a burner of equal capacity.
Not being blessed with a burner the size of a tractor wheel I have to frequently move the pan around my wok hob. This approach works well if you’re standing in the kitchen whiling away the worries of the world with a mate and a glass of wine. Of course you can cook this in a normal frying pan equally well but having “proper” pan induces suitable ooh’s and ahh’s from your guests when you plonk it on the table and they can all dig in.

Ingredients – please excuse approximations as I have yet to weigh and measure the precise amounts.

Serves 6

2 Shallots chopped finely
2 Garlic cloves chopped finely
2 Tomatoes de-seeded and diced
80g Chorizo sliced
2 Chicken breasts cubed (bite size)
100g Green Beans cut to desired size
200g King Prawns – Cooked or Raw, have to be peeled
6 Handfuls of paella rice, I cup my hand and then fill the palm, although I do have big hands
1 Glass of dry white wine
1 Teaspoon of Paprika
Pinch of Saffron
Pinch of Chilli flakes
600 ml of Chicken stock
Water for topping up

Brown the chicken on all sides then remove from the pan.
Gently fry the shallots and garlic until soft in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper
Add the tomatoes and continue to gently fry for a minute
Add the Chorizo turn up the heat and fry until the oils are released
Now add the rice, cooking for a couple of Mins stirring all the time
Add the wine and reduce till hardly any liquid is left
Add the paprika and stir so that everything is coated
Add the stock, bring to the boil and reduce to simmer.
Add Chilli flakes and saffron and stir to distribute
TASTE – add more seasoning and or spice if required
Now reduce the heat so that it’s barely simmering.

So now you leave it to simmer and please don’t stir, this causes the rice to release its starch and that’s now what you want, unless you want a plate of mush.
This should take now around 15 Mins, you’ll know when it’s cooked because the rice is still firm but not crunchy or chalky tasting.
Important: keep an eye on the pan if it looks too dry then top up with water, you may have to do this several times.
Once you’re happy that the rice is cooked place your prawns on top on the rice, dotted about the pan.

Finally when the prawns are cooked, top off with a good dash of chopped parsley.
Serve with lemon slices for those who want the extra zing

Apart from a bit of prep this is quite simple, you can add what you like really, some fish for example or as they do in some regions of Spain, snails!

Whatever it is you put in, so long as you follow the basics and season properly, you’ll have a guaranteed crowd pleaser

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