Just the other day, I was very lucky to be given a box of the most amazing king prawns by a foodie friend (thank you Caroline). Determined to do them justice, I used our brilliant Alejandro spicy chorizos, our Spanish saffron and smoked paprika and a box of Riso Toro Arborio Rice. Ok, ok, I know Arborio rice is not classic, but paella rice and Arborio rice are pretty close. I've recently listed a great quality Spanish Saffron, it comes in a 1g container and is half the price of the saffron you'll find in the supermarkets - I love it's earthy flavour and it's great in so many other dishes.
There are lots of different ingredients you can use for paella, you can also vary the stock base (chicken or fish), I think it's great to experiment and use what you have to hand, so be creative and go with the flow. If you happen to have fresh mussels, squid or clams that would be great, but don't sweat it.
There are a few different stages to the dish, but other than the stock pot, it's essentially a one pan wonder!
Ingredients to Serve 4-6
1/2 Whole Chicken, jointed
1.5ltrs Chicken Stock, hot
1/3g Saffron, about a 1/4tsp loosely packed
1 x Alejandro Chorizo, sliced into thick rounds
1tsp Hot Smoked Paprika
8 cloves of garlic, finely diced
16 x Large, whole King Prawns or equivalent shell on smaller prawns
2 x White Onions, finely diced
1tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
4 x Fresh Tomatoes, diced
400g Riso Toro Arborio Rice
1tsp Sea Salt
Large bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
Start out by jointing the chicken into it's pieces (breast, thigh, legs and wings), alternatively buy chicken thighs on their own. For 4 people, you will only really need half a chicken, but I used a whole chicken and have left over cold chicken for another meal this week. Poach the chicken pieces in the stock for 20-30 minutes, then remove and set aside. Make sure you keep the beautiful liquid as this is what you'll cook the rice in. Pull the chicken away from the bone and cut into bite size pieces - keep to one side. Add the saffron to the chicken stock and keep warm.
Heat 4 tbsp of rapeseed oil in a paella pan or large frying pan and fry the chicken pieces to give them some nice colour and crisp the outside. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.
Without cleaning the pan, add another 2tbsp of rapeseed oil and fry the chorizo slices for a couple of minutes, then add in half the garlic and the prawns. Turn the heat up and stir fry everything until the prawns are cooked - should only need about a minute. Remove everything from the pan and keep to one side.
Again, without cleaning the pan, add in the onions and the rest of the garlic and fry for around 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Then add the hot paprika, the fresh diced tomatoes, the fresh rosemary and continue to cook until the tomatoes have broken down into a jam like consistency.
Now add the rice and cook for a minute before adding 3/4 of the saffron chicken stock. Leave to simmer gently for around 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Add more stock if getting a bit dry. Once the rice has almost cooked, add the chicken, chorizo and prawns with all the juices back into the pan with a tsp of salt. You may need to add a little more stock to loosen everything up. Keep cooking for another 4 or 5 minutes until the rice is perfect.
Let the paella rest in the pan for 3 or 4 minutes before scattering over the fresh parsley and serving.
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Leafy green vegetables are fantastic on pizza. Italians love 'Friarielli' but it's hard to find in the UK so I've used purple sprouting broccoli instead. Use creamy ricotta, salty olives, a good grating of Grana Padano, liberal use of some Calabrian spicy peperoncini and a fantastic pizza awaits.
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Ben and Alice