Paella

This was a recipe I’ve long wanted to share, but held back because what I cook and label paella isn’t really the most authentic version, and also because it’s a tough one when trying to get the quantities right {especially in terms of the amount of rice needed}. But at the end of the day it’s such a family favourite that it definitely deserves a place here, and I was convinced when I made it again recently and realised how popular it is as well as how good it really tastes.

Mine isn’t a true paella in that it doesn’t have the crust that forms by not stirring it, basically because I can’t help myself and need to stir it. So keep in mind that the consistency is more like a risotto with the flavours of a paella, and we’re good. The amount of stock listed is also very much a guide, I just keep going until it’s cooked and I’m happy with the consistency.

Feel free to adjust the quantites, the amount listed below will generously serve six adults and allow for second helpings, and should hopefully give you some leftovers for lunch the next day. When it comes to rice I usually allow a generous handful per person then throw another handful in. Basically I’m just completely shit at gauging the right amount of rice and always make too much of it.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 1 kg diced chicken {breast or thigh}, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • one large brown onion, finely diced
  • one large capsicum {whatever colour you prefer}, sliced
  • 200 g mushrooms, sliced {regular sized cup, not button}
  • two garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • approx. 2 to 3 cups of arborio rice, or similar short grain rice
  • saffron strands, a good amount, soaked in one cup of boiling water for at least ten minutes
  • 2 cups of white wine, not a sweet variety, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio are good
  • 4 litres of chicken stock
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 500 g green prawns, peeled and butterflied if you like, or left whole
  • black mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • fresh parsley, finely chopped

WHAT TO DO:

  • Begin by browning the chorizo, which will release its oils. Once it’s browned remove from the pan and brown the seasoned chicken in the chorizo oil, in two batches. If you need to, add a little more olive oil to the pan. Once the chicken has been browned and set aside heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and gently saute the onion and capsicum.
  • When the onion and capsicum have softened add the mushrooms, and fry until the mushroom starts to caramelise. Add the garlic and fry for about a minute.
  • Add the rice to the pan and turn the heat up a little, you want to fry the rice and coat them well in all the oils and flavours that are in the pan. When they just start to catch on the bottom of the pan, and before anything starts to burn, add the saffron water, and when it has been absorbed start adding the wine. Turn the heat up to high, and slowly pour the wine in, stirring it through. Let the alcohol evaporate and the wine start to absorb. At this stage I like to season well with pepper, but be sparing with salt as the stock might have enough salt in it already.
  • From here on you add the stock bit by bit, and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. You want the rice and chicken to finish cooking through, so keep adding about a cup of stock whenever it has all been absorbed, and give it a gentle stir. {For a true paella you wouldn’t stir from this point but would rather give the pan a shake from time to time.}
  • About ten minutes before the rice is cooked to your liking place the prawns on top, and five minutes later the mussels. If the stock seems to have been fully absorbed you can continue to add small amounts if needed, and very gently move the rice around so the stock can be distributed throughout. Finish with a generous sprinkle of fresh parsley.

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