We eat paella often in our house. Sometimes with seafood. At other times without. Always with chorizo. It’s a wonderfully communal dish to cook and eat. Spicy. Full of flavour. Easy to prepare. I must confess this weekend I ran out of saffron so the rice pictured doesn’t have its usual vibrancy. I know that it is considered acceptable in Spanish cookery to add a little food colouring but I prefer to go without. Roasting the capsicums in the oven is a breeze. I just place them whole in a 200 C oven for a few minutes as I start to prepare the other ingredients for my paella. It is perfectly acceptable to miss this step and use a small jar of prepared peppers instead. Paella isn’t intended to be a fussy dish. It’s infinitely adaptable to personal tastes and preferences and therein lies its charm.
I’m told that traditionally in Spanish households paella was prepared on Sundays by men to give their wives a break from cooking. Not a bad idea. I might suggest this to my son. After all this is one of his most requested meals when he is home from school. Time to perhaps pass the baton down to the next generation.
Paella With Chicken and Chorizo
3 chorizo sausages, halved lengthways and sliced
6 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
60 ml sherry vinegar
500g Spanish Bomba or Italian Arborio rice
2 litres hot chicken stock
2 pinches saffron
2 red capsicums, de-seeded , roasted, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 green capsicum, de-seeded, roasted, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 cup peas, frozen peas should be thawed in boiling water while preparing
6 ripe Roma tomatoes, plunged into boiling water, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
freshly squeezed lemon , to serve
HEAT a large, deep cast iron or paella pan over medium heat. When hot, add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until golden and the oil has been released. Remove and set aside.
ADD chicken in batches and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
ADD 1 tablespoon olive oil, and chopped onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and paprika and cook for a further minute. Then add the rice, stirring well to coat.
ADD sherry vinegar. When it has evaporated add the saffron and hot stock. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
RETURN the chicken to the pan and stir through the rice with roasted capsicum, peas and tomatoes. Cook for a further 5 minutes without stirring, to help develop the required crust on the bottom of the pan.
ADD the chorizo and parsley and cook for a further 3 – 5 minutes until rice is al dente. Turn off the heat. Season to taste and squeeze over some lemon. Allow to sit for a minute or two.