Paella is without a doubt my favourite Spanish dish. As I write this in England It’s cold and grey so I’m imagining eating paella in the early evening on a warm Spanish beach, served from a huge smokey pan that’s been cooking all afternoon. This recipe is my attempt at recreating this Spanish favourite back home.
My 3 key tips for the perfect paella are:
1. slowly cook the onions. The longer the better, even up to two hours on the lowest heat. Just keep adding olive oil when needed to stop them from sticking and burning.
2. The better the stock the better the paella. Get the best you can buy or better still make your own.
3. Make sure that there is only a thin layer of rice in the pan. 2 centimetres deep is enough. If the rice is too deep or thick it wont cook well. Ideally you want the rice on the bottom of the pan to have a slight crisp to it.
This recipe should serve 4 -6 people
Generous pour of olive oil to grease the paella pan
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
150g of chorizo, cut into bitesize cubes
1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika
2 -3 pinches of saffron
4 vine tomatoes, chopped
2 cups / 400g of paella rice
7 cups / 1.6 pints of fish stock
1/2 cup of frozen peas
150g of peeled king prawns
6-7 tiger prawns with shells on
15-20 fresh muscles
1 lemon cut into quarters
For this recipe I used a 14 inch paella pan which I find is big enough for the 400g of rice to cook well. Just make sure your hob is big enough to thoroughly heat the pan. If not scale it back.
Put the pan on the hob on the lowest heat setting and add a generous amount of olive oil. After 5 minutes add the onion and cook for as long as you have time for or a maximum of 2 hours.
When ready add the garlic and chorizo. Fry for around 10 minutes, stirring occasional before adding the smoked paprika, saffron, rice and tomatoes. Fry the rice for around 5 minutes before adding the stock and peas. Now spread the paella evenly in the pan and leave it from then on so that it doesn’t become a stodgy mush.
You need the stock to reduce so leave the pan uncovered for the first 10-15 minutes of cooking. After that cover the pan with tin foil. 10 minutes before your ready to serve add the prawns and muscles to the pan and keep it covered with the tin foil. This will cook them without over cooking, making them rubbery.
Serve with a garnish of lemon and tuck in. As with most meals it tastes even better the next day so make sure you save some.