Feeding the Funky Bunch: Paella

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I have been developing a love of paella for the past year or so. It is absolutely delicious. I have made 3 paellas with a good friend of mine and we’ve trialled a few different recipes. I flew solo for the first time the other night and made this one on my own with a combination of recipes and a few of my own additions. It was fabulous. After you’ve made paella a couple of times you’ll have the confidence to just leave it to it’s own devices for the most part, which makes it a great mid-week meal.

To make an authentic paella it is necessary to have a paella pan. This, and the fact that you don’t stir the paella while it’s cooking, gives the signature crusty base that paella is famous for. My friend has a paella pan and the crust is spectacular. I don’t have one yet (but it is definitely on my wish list!) and just used a large frypan to cook mine. The flavour was excellent but there wasn’t really a crust. If you’re keen I would give paella a go in a pan you already have, and if you’re loving the flavours and how easily this dish comes together then invest in a pan.

Paella (Serves 4)

  • 3tbs rice bran oil
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 150g chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 300g chicken thigh or tenderloin, cubed approx 2cm x 2cm, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 12 fresh prawns, shelled and deveined
  • optional seafood – 8 mussels & 12 pippies
  • 200g fresh or frozen peas
  • Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g calasperra rice (can substitute for arborio rice)
  • 800ml stock (my preference is 400ml veggie stock & 400ml fish stock)
  1. Prep all ingredients. You can chop celery, onion, garlic and capsicum in thermomix or food processor.
  2. Heat oil in pan.
  3. Add celery, onion, garlic, capsicum, chorizo, chicken & rice to pan. Fry & stir for 3 min.
  4. Add stock, paprikas and saffron and stir for 1 min.
  5. Gently spread ingredients evenly across bottom of pan.
  6. Bring to the boil and simmer 10min. DO NOT STIR.
  7. Add seafood to the pan by gently pushing prawns, mussels and pippies (if using) into the rice, then simmer for 10min. DO NOT STIR.
  8. It is important to taste a couple of grains of rice and ensure they are cooked through, not hard in the centre, after step 7. By this time the rice should have absorbed most of the liquid. If the rice is undercooked, pour another 100ml of water over the paella and check rice again once it has been absorbed.
  9. If using mussels and pippies, shells should be open after step 7.
  10. Sprinkle parsley and peas over paella and cook for 5 min. DO NOT STIR.
  11. Serve and enjoy.

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