I first made this Paella on a cooking job in Spain and as it is traditionally cooked on a barbecue I was keen to do the same. I shall never forget the amazing feeling of cooking over looking the sea as the sun was setting, with the gentle evening heat and the wonderful smells of the spanish flavours mixed with the smoke from the charcoal, it was definitely my favourite memory from a cooking job, it was heaven.
I have therefore dreamed of this Paella most times the sun comes out, keen to recreate that feeling in England. So last week with the first real peak of sun combined with friends for dinner and our new barbecue gas canister, I knew it was time!
Whilst Paella is not a health ‘superfood’ exactly, it is seriously tasty and let us not forget, it is freshly cooked and made with real unprocessed food. It is also packed full of amazing fresh seafood,which are great sources of protein and zinc, as well as onion, garlic, pepper, parsley & tomato. In this instance it was also served with a green salad with green beans and radish, so not far off your 5 a day after all! This version is also not as heavily fried as some versions and contains minimal amounts of oil. It also contains no gluten, dairy or sugar. I agree the chorizo is not necessarily health’s young dream but hey it tastes great and we are not having it everyday.
Traditionally Paella is not stirred and a crust is allowed to form on the bottom, I don’t make it that way so I apologise to any purists out there, but this is how I like it. To be honest I am yet to have a Paella that I like as much, I realise that is confident talk but I promise you will love it, it is just the right about of flavour, spice and taste. I can guarantee the pan will be well and truly empty by the end!
Paella can be a bit of effort and the key to making it simple, is to spend time prepping all your ingredients, once you have done that the actual cooking it is quick and really fun. If you pre chop everything and put it into little dishes, it makes life a lot easier.
If you can, definitely give this a go cooking it on the barbecue, it gives you one of those happy feelings! Ideally use a Paella pan, I couldn’t get one in time so used a Le Creuset sauté pan which worked really well it just took a bit longer to heat.
When it is ready sprinkle with parsley an take it straight to the table and tuck in, best served with a chilled glass of White Rioja and a green salad with a traditional French dressing (sorry Spain).
- 4 x large garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 large Spanish onion (finely chopped)
- 1 large Spanish red pepper or 2 small normal (finely chopped)
- 600g fresh tomatoes peeled, deseeded & chopped
- 3 (175g) uncooked spicy chorizo sausage
- 12- 18 Large Prawns (raw and in shells)
- 20 Small prawns (feel free to mix prawns up depending on preference and what is available at the fishmonger)
- 3 medium size squid cleaned and chopped into rings
- 25 Clams
- 1.3 litres chicken stock (home-made is preferable)
- 150 ml white wine
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 pinch of saffron
- 1 pint of Paella rice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Fresh chopped parsley
- Start by prepping all the ingredients, to make it easier, put the onion, garlic & red pepper in one bowl and the rice, chilli flakes & thyme in another.
- In a saucepan gently heat the chicken stock with the saffron strands.
- When everything is ready to go, get out a Paella pan or a large saute pan, place either on a hob or a heated barbecue.
- Start by adding olive oil with the chopped chorizo, allow to cook on medium heat for about 1 minute, giving it a good stir.
- Next add 3 cloves of chopped garlic, the onion & the red pepper.
- Cook on medium heat until the onion & pepper are soft do not let it over heat and burn. Approx 7-10 mins.
- Then add the thyme, rice & chilli flakes, give it a good stir so the rice is coated.
- Add the white wine and the smoked paprika and simmer until absorbed
- Next add the warm stock with saffron and give it all a good stir. I also add a sprinkle of sea salt at this point and few grinds of black pepper.
- While the paella is simmering if using very large prawns give them a quick fry in a frying pan with any leftover garlic so they can brown slightly, this isn’t crucial but it does this add to the flavour. You can also do the same with the squid.
- When the paella has simmered for about 4 minutes add the tomato, clams & small prawns.
- Simmer until all the liquid as gone, the rice is cooked through, the clams are open and the prawns have turned pink.
- You might need to add a little more stock if it drys out before the rice is cooked through.
- At this point add the squid and large prawns
- Season with black pepper add sprinkle with chopped parsley.