For this post you can call me hoolie (like hoolio – Julio Ingeleses). We are going to Spain – hola – and cooking up a Seafood Paella. I cooked this for a 20th birthday celebration for Peppertree Kitchen in Lismore on the Northern Rivers of NSW.
Their are different variations of this Spanish dish throughout Spain. If you live in the mountain region you would have garden vegetables, rabbit, chicken and even snails, coastal villages would have seafood as the star but meat traditionally is added with the seafood.
The most important rule in making paella is not to stir the rice once the stock has been added, this allows the important socorat (crust) to form on the bottom.
This dish is easier than it looks, if you don’t have a Paella pan (a flat round pan with two handles) you can use a frying pan, enjoy.
6 cups fish stock
Pinch saffron threads
Extra virgin olive oil
6 chicken thighs, skin on and bone removed
plain flour, for dusting
6 medium-sized green prawns, left whole
1 green blue swimmer crab, cleaned, cut into 6, claws cracked
100gms chorizo, sliced
1 brown onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely diced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
400g canned Italian tomatoes
2 cups calasparra rice (or other short-grain rice like arborio)
2 teaspoons salt flakes
1 cup fresh peas (or frozen)
4 pieces piquillo peppers, cut into strips
9 large green prawns, peeled and diced
6 blue mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 small squid, cleaned and cut into strips
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Heat fish stock in a saucepan until almost boiling, remove from the heat, add saffron threads and cover to keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly coat the chicken pieces with the flour and season. Heat a splash of olive oil in a paella pan or large frying pan and cook the chicken on both sides until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the pan back on the heat and cook the sliced chorizo until brown and crispy, set aside. Cook the whole prawns and crab over medium heat until they change colour. Remove and set aside.
Add extra olive oil to pan, if necessary and add the onion, then garlic, then paprika and cook, without colouring, until onion is soft.
Add tomatoes, increase heat and cook for a further 5 minutes until mixture has reduced a little and has thickened.
Add rice and salt, mix well to coat the rice and cook for 1 minute. Pour in almost all of the stock (with saffron) and stir to combine well.
Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes, then reduce to medium-high heat and cook for about 10 minutes until most of the stock has been absorbed. If the flame (or element) doesn’t reach the edges of the base of the pan, move the pan around during cooking to ensure the rice cooks evenly. Add the remaining stock.
Arrange peas, peppers, mussels, diced prawns and crab on the top of the paella, gently pushing seafood into the rice to assist cooking.
Cook for a further 5 minutes or so until shells open and prawns just change colour. Add the squid, chicken, chorizo and cooked whole prawns, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Remove pan from the heat, cover with a clean tea towel and allow paella to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving (the Spanish call this ‘reposar’). Serve with lemon wedges, a lightly dressed green salad and a crusty loaf.