paella (the spanish one pot wonder)
I had been wanting to make paella again for a while so when I stumbled upon some leftover chorizo and prawns in the fridge I seized the opportunity. Not all paella recipes call for a sofrito (Catalan tomato and onion sauce) but I think it’s key to a good paella – it gives real depth and intensity to the final dish. It is used as a base for many Spanish dishes so any remaining sofrito can be used to cook seafood, fish or chicken, or just popped in the freezer for the next time you whip up a paella.
For the paella I used prawns, chorizo, chicken and peas but you can use any combination of ingredients. It’s kind of like making a pizza in that sense, although I find chorizo is always a good one to have as it gives a great flavour. If you are using mostly seafood just substitute the stock with a fish or seafood based one. Remember not to stir like a risotto, once you have turned it down to simmer just leave it to bubble happily away. As my paella dish is out of action (it has turned a worrying shade of orange), I used a wok and it came out wonderfully, just without the crusty bits at the edges where the rice sticks to the pan which is actually better with regards to washing up! Satisfying and moreish, you’ll want to dig in right out of the pan! It’s also just made foodbuzz’s daily top 9 which I’m thrilled about!
Chorizo, Prawn and Chicken Paella
150g chorizo, roughly chopped into large pieces
150g prawns, peeled
2 chicken thigh fillets, skinned and cut into 1 inch cubes
100g fresh or frozen peas
1 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup sofrito (recipe below)
1.1 litre (1 quart) chicken stock
1 pinch saffron strands, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups Spanish Bomba rice (you can also use arborio or calasparra)
Heat the olive oil over high heat, add the chicken and sauté until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Add the red onions to the hot pan and cook, when fragrant add the prawns and cook for a further minute then remove and add to the cooked poultry. It doesn’t matter if the prawns are not cooked through at this stage as they will continue to cook with the paella later.
Finally add the chorizo to the pan and sauté for a minute, add the peas and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the chorizo has gone slightly crusty at the edges. Return the cooked ingredients back into the pan, pour in the wine, stirring until it has reduced by half. Add the sofrito and cook for 3 minutes.
Pour in your stock and bring to the boil. Once it has come to the boil add the saffron, bay leaf and season with salt (it may taste over-salted but once the rice is added it will balance out).
Add the rice, making sure it is spread evenly in the pan. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. The rice should be floating around the pan, if not, add an additional 1/2 cup of stock (it may seem like a lot of liquid but trust me, it will all get absorbed).
Reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes (or until all the liquid has absorbed). Remember not to stir or disturb the paella during these 10 minutes or your rice will come out unevenly cooked. Remove from heat and let it rest in the pan for 3 minutes, in which time any excess stock will be absorbed into the rice.
The paella should have a lovely shine on the top and not too dry – the grains of rice should be still slightly wet. Serve immediately.
(adapted from José Andrés’ ‘Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America’)
makes 3 cups
10 ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 small onions, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pimentón (Spanish sweet paprika)
1 bay leaf
Cut tomatoes in half and grate the flesh side over a large bowl. Discard the skins.
Heat oil in a saucepan over a low to medium flame, add onions, sugar and salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they have caramelised and coloured slightly and are soft and tender (about 45 minutes). If the onions get too dark add 1/2 tbsp of water to stop them burning. This step is the crucial part – the sweet onions are what makes the sauce.
Add the tomato pulp, pimentón and the bay leaf and cook over a medium heat for a further 20 minutes. The sofrito is ready when the tomato has deepened in colour and broken down, and the oil has separated from the sauce.
note: you can make the sofrito several days in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge.