James’ Easy Paella – 2022 Improved!2013-12-02
- Yield : A Big Paella Pan Full of Joy
- Servings : 8 as a main or 24 for Tapas Party!
- Prep Time : 45m
- Cook Time : 40m
- Ready In : 1:30 h
I just love cooking a Paella, especially at parties & Barbecues – It just looks so impressive but to be perfectly truthful anybody can make this one…Just make sure you use great ingredients. This dish can be cooked on a stove/hob top but also can be cooked on one of the those garden fire pit type things or even your gas BBQ.
The secret to success for me is three fold:
1.) The Rice. You MUST use Bomba Rice – You can buy this on Amazon!
2.) The stock – Take your time and make the effort, you won’t regret it – It DOES make all the difference.
3.) Being brave enough not to stir the dish (Easier said than done) If you do this right, he finished dish will have some charred crispy black rice on the bottom of the pan, known as “socarrat”. These are the best bits, the originators of the Paella dish call these, “Valencian Caviar”.
Now this is my take on the dish…purists will tell you no garlic, no chorizo, no eating Paella after lunch, blah blah blah. Try for yourself and enjoy x
The recipe below is for 8 but as a general rule you need 100g of rice per person
- 800g Paella Rice - Bomba!
- 400g x Boneless Chicken Thighs - Cut in to bite sized chunks
- 8 x Chicken Drums
- 12 x King Prawns - Peeled
- 20 Clams in shells - Optional
- 150g x Fresh Mussels in shells
- 200g Chorizo - Diced
- 150g Mixed Seafood
- NEW: For "sofrito" - 3 or 4 Large Vine Ripe Tomatoes - Chopped
- 6 x Cloves of Fresh Garlic - Crushed
- 1 Large Onion - Finely Chopped
- 1 x Red Bell Pepper - Sliced
- Large Pinches of Saffron - Soaked in stock
- 80g Fine Beans - Chopped to 2" sticks
- 1 x tsp Turmeric
- 2tsp Sweet Paprika
- 100ml of White Wine
- 3L Hot Chicken Stock
- Plain Flour
- Salt & Pepper
- Spanish Olive Oil
- A Bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley - Chopped
- 2 x Lemons - Cut into wedges
- 2 x Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
Preheat the oven to 200° Season the chicken with the salt & pepper and then "dust" in the flour. Heat some olive oil in the paella pan and fry the chicken until nicely golden brown, then place them on a baking tray and into the oven for about 30 minutes. - Remove and keep warm if you need to, while you cook the paella. While these are cooking...
Make up the stock. Start by 'shelling' all the prawns and put the flesh to one side. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy pan and gently sauté 2 cloves of chopped garlic for about a a minute then add the prawn heads/tails/shells and continue to sauté for a few more minutes - breaking up the heads and squashing (I use a potato masher to get all the juices out) while stirring. Pour in 200ml stock and the white wine, gently simmer for 15 minutes, then strain and season to taste and set aside. While your stock is simmering add the saffron to the rest of the stock to infuse for at least 15 minutes. - This is an important part of the process!
Heat some more oil in your paella pan and add the chicken thighs and sauté for 5 minutes until slightly browned, turning a couple of times then add the chorizo to release the oils and flavour for a few minutes then push all to the sides of the pan
This next stage is one of the most important parts, making the "sofrito". To do this gently fry the onion to soften (but not brown) then add the chopped tomatoes and fry over a medium heat - keep stirring. As the mixture reduces, it will start to thicken up to a darker red paste.
Bring the meat back to the middle of the pan and mix thoroughly with the sofrito. Add the paprika, turmeric, peppers , garlic and beans, mix around again and continue fry for few more minutes. Deglaze the pan by adding the stock and get all of the flavours of the bottom, check for seasoning. Bring to the boil and leave for several minutes for all the flavours to mix in with the stock.
At last we can now add the rice, mix around the pan evenly ensuring all the rice grains are under the surface of the liquid. DO NOT STIR the rice after this. Repeat DO NOT STIR AGAIN! After about 10 minutes the rice should start to appear though the liquid. Now turn down the heat add the sprigs of rosemary & shell fish of your choice and continue to gentle simmer for about another 10 minutes until the rice starts to dry out. (If some rice starts to appear whilst other areas still have liquid you can carefully move some rice around the pan with the skimmer)
Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, try the rice from under the top surface. It should be cooked "al dente" still with a slight nutty taste. Now cover the Paella pan with foil and turn up the heat for a minute or two. (You will hear the rice "pop" as it is caramelising on the bottom of the pan). This is called the "Socarrat" the most highly prized part of Paella. Covering the pan at this stage also helps finish off the cooking of the top layer of rice. Turn off the heat and leave for a good 10 minutes to rest before serving. Decorate with parsley and the lemon wedges - Serve directly from the pan remembering to scrape to the bottom to get the "socarrat”…
Make sure some drunk wanna be chef doesn’t throw in a large clump of mint instead of parsley right at the end…eh Jonny!
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