Wednesday, 22 August 2012

All Round Paella

My first trip to Spain was in July 2007. My best friend's grandad had an apartment in Moraira, Valencia and a few of us from my boarding house spent 2 weeks out there. It was my first trip without my parents/ teachers and we were at that age where alcohol was new and exciting. During this trip, I tried paella for the first time and have fallen in love since. We spent 2 summers in the apartment and ended up trying an array of Spanish dishes - paella remains my favourite.

5 years on, I have tried many variations of the dish but never came around to making my own. As I love to experiment (and because the recipes listed online looked far too complicated/ had expensive ingredients), last night I made my very own paella, from scratch and made it up as I went along. It was a success!

Here is how I did it...


Meats/ Fish:
3 chicken breasts – diced
4oz (ready cooked) chorizo – diced
180g raw king prawns
180g (ready cooked) calamari

Herbs/ spices
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp mixed herbs

2 cups of frozen peas
2 garlic cloves - chopped finely
1 onion – chopped finely
2 medium tomatoes – diced
1 red pepper – diced


2 pints of boiling water
Chicken stock (either 2 chicken stock cubes/ 2 chicken stock gels)
Hot sauce/ tobasco sauce/ chilli sauce
100ml white wine
300g of long grain rice
Olive oil

Cooking accessories:

A large, deep frying pan or wok
Another frying pan for the prawns
A wooden spoon/ spatula for stirring
A deep, large oven dish
A chopping board
2 kitchen knives – 1 for veg, 1 for meat
A Pyrex jug/ bowl
A serving spoon

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees

Chop and prepare all ingredients – this makes the cooking process quick and simple

Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large, deep pan (or wok)

Fry the chicken, garlic and onion on low heat

Once the chicken is half cooked, add the tomatoes and red pepper – leave to cook on low heat

In a separate pan, cook the prawns on low heat – once cooked, add to the other pan. Please be sure that the prawns are thoroughly cooked and pink

Sprinkle the paprika, rosemary and mixed herbs into chicken/ prawn mixture and mix well

Whilst this is slowly cooking, get the chicken stock ready by adding two pints of boiling water into a jug/bowl and stir in the chicken stock cube/ gel

Pop the rice into a large cooking dish and add the hot chicken stock

Pop this in the oven for 10 minutes

In the next 10 minutes, add the pre-cooked chorizo, calamari and frozen peas to the pan and stir thoroughly – leaving it on low heat.

Retrieve the rice from the oven and slowly pour the ingredients from the pan into the oven dish – be wary of the hot stock splashing at you

Stir thoroughly; making sure the rice is mixed all over

Mix in the wine and a couple of drops of hot sauce for flavouring

Sprinkle a bit more paprika in if you desire

Pop the dish back in the oven and leave to cook for 20 minutes/ until the rice has cooked – be sure to give it a good stir after 10 minutes

In the mean time you can prepare some salad or bread to go with your paella – I opted for part- bake rolls

If you've still got time, why not set the table?

Or even clean your kitchen – it’s a mess!

Once the paella is ready, serve immediately – add more hot sauce for flavouring, if you wish!

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