The pan for this traditional paella recipe is shallow and wide. If you don’t have a paella pan or a large enough frying pan, use two smaller frying pans as the mixture should only be about 4cm deep. This recipe is best made just before serving and can be done across a couple of jets on the stove, or on the BBQ.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes
1 kilo clams
1 tablespoon coarse salt
600g medium uncooked prawns
1 kilo small black mussels
4 tablespoons olive oil
7 cups (1750ml) chicken or fish stock
1 large pinch saffron threads
4 (440g) chicken thigh fillets, chopped coarsely
400g chorizo sausage, sliced
2 large (600g) red onion, chopped
2 medium (400g) red capsicum, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 teaspoons smoked or sweet paprika
4 medium (720g) tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped finely
3 cups (600g) Calasperra (or Calrose or short grain) rice
2 cups (250g) frozen peas
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Alioli, to serve
To prepare the seafood:
- Rinse the clams under cold water and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle the clams with the salt, cover with cold water and soak for 2 hours to purges them of any grit. Drain and rinse.
- Shell and devein the prawns, leaving the tails intact. Reserve shells. Scrub the mussels.
To make the stock:
- Brown prawn shells in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan. Pour in chicken or fish stock, bring to the boil and simmer 20 minutes. Strain, add saffron and set aside till needed.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in paella pan, add the chicken and cook until browned. Remove the chicken from the pan. Add the chorizo to the same pan and cook until browned; drain the chorizo on absorbent paper.
To make the sofrito (or picada, the key to a great paella):
- Add the final 2 tablespoons oil to the pan, add the onion, capsicum, garlic, paprika and tomatoes to the same pan and cook, stirring, until soft.
- Add the rice and stir until it is coated in oil. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan.
- Add the stock and saffron mixture and stir only until combined. DO NOT STIR AGAIN. Bring to the boil then simmer, uncovered, for about 12 minutes or until the rice is almost tender.
- Sprinkle the peas over the rice and simmer, uncovered, for a further three minutes.
- Place the clams, mussels and prawns over the rice mixture. Cover the pan with a large piece of foil and simmer, covered, for about five minutes or until the clams and mussels have opened and the prawns are just cooked through. Discard any shells that don’t open.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
- Not suitable to freeze.
- Not suitable to microwave.
Chorizo is a spicy pork sausage made with garlic and red capsicums. Saffron threads are available from specialty food stores and some supermarkets. If unavailable, substitute a tiny pinch of saffron powder. Calasperra rice is short grain Spanish rice used in paella. If unavailable substitute short or medium grain rice. Good quality seafood marinara mix could replace the seafood.
Traditional paella has a crispy, caramelised, toasted bottom (called socarrat in Valencian) that is considered a delicacy. To achieve a socarrat, one either needs to time the evaporation of the water properly with the completion of the rice being cooked or turn up the heat to high and listen to the bottom of the rice toast
Recipe from Balance. Matching Food and Wine. What Works and Why by Lyndey Milan and Colin Corney (Hachette)