I have a colleague at work whose heritage is Spanish, and every Monday when I come in and inquire about her weekend, she tells me about this, about that, and how she made paella. Again. It seems like she makes paella every week, and not just the one, but two each time – one with seafood and one without, as one of her children doesn’t like seafood.
Now me? I’ve never even had paella. I love the look of it, but unfortunately I’m not a fan of mussels, which all paellas I’ve seen seem to have. The only shellfish I will touch is scallops – and that you definitely don’t see in a paella!
I was flicking through my recipe collection scrapbook over the weekend looking for some dinner inspiration during the week and came across one of the recipe cards I had picked up ages ago in Harris Farm Markets, with the recipe for Perfect Prawn & Chorizo Paella. And skimming down the list of ingredients, I had almost everything, and it didn’t look difficult at all. I don’t have a paella pan, so my biggest fry pan will just have to do. Gosh, I don’t even have a wok at home. And I call myself Asian?
All I needed to buy was a jar of tomato sauce, where I bought a bottle of tomato passata just from the supermarket:
And the recipe doesn’t ask for it, but after much discussion with my colleague, she proclaims that paella doesn’t taste the same without saffron, so I decided to get some as well. And then finally understood what everyone meant about saffron being more expensive than gold. It was $14 for this little 10g jar! And 100g of it would cost you $1400, can you believe it? Sure, there was imitation saffron powder as well, but seriously – if you’re going to only use it once in a while and not every day, use the proper stuff.
I’ve also modified other areas of the recipe, adding another chorizo sausage, as chorizo sausages are awesome, as well as adding two marinated chicken breast fillets. I’ve used less prawns as a result.
To serve four, you will need:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil;
- 2 chorizo sausages;
- 200g chicken breast fillets;
- 30g butter;
- 1 onion, chopped;
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped;
- 3 teaspoons sweet paprika;
- 2 teaspoons Maldon Sea Salt Flakes;
- 100g frozen green peas;
- 2 cups medium grain rice, washed & drained;
- 560g jar passata or tomato cooking sauce;
- 2 + 1/2C cups chicken stock;
- 300g large green prawns, peeled & de-veined;
- 1/4 fresh lemon, plus extra to serve;
- Flat-leaf parsley to serve.
Marinate the chicken with one chopped clove of garlic, one teaspoon paprika and the 1/4 lemon, seasoning with salt and pepper before setting aside. Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan (one with a lid) over a medium-high heat and add the chorizo and chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove and set aside. Slice when cooled slightly. The aim isn’t to completely cook either, as you will be cooking it further at a later stage.
At this stage have everything close by within reach, as the process is very fast from here onwards. Combine your chicken stock with the tomato sauce.
Add the butter to the fry pan and as it melts, add the onion and the remainder of the garlic, cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes until soft and translucent.
Add the paprika, Maldon Sea Salt Flakes and saffron.
Add the two cups of washed medium grain rice, stirring to coat the grains of rice.
Add the combined chicken stock and tomato sauce over the rice.
Cover and bring to the boil. When tunnels form over the top of the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Place the peas, prawns, sliced chorizo and sliced chicken over the rice.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Gently stir the prawns, chorizo, chicken and peas through the rice.
Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley leaves, lemon wedges and a fresh leafy salad on the side…if you can fit it in!
Full of flavour and spice from the rich tomato sauce, saffron, garlic, paprika and onion, but offset by the juicy prawns, fresh parsley and the refreshingly citrus tang from a squeeze of lemon juice 🙂 Earlier in the afternoon I had told the Sister to invite her boyfriend over as looking at the recipe, there was no we two girls would have been able to finish the whole paella ourselves! And I was certainly glad I had. Between the three of us, we demolished the entire thing, and I was delighted to see that I had a delicious ‘crust’ on the bottom of the rice – although luckily not one that stuck to my non-stick fry pan! The Sister and her boyfriend, unlike me, have had many paellas in Sydney’s Spanish quarter and in parts of the US, and told me that it was one of the best paellas they’ve ever had! For a first attempt – I couldn’t be happier.
Have a delightful lead up to Christmas, my dears! I personally won’t be doing much for Christmas, with half of the family away, so no cooking of big Christmas feasts for me! I conserve my energy for the day after…. Boxing Day… where I wake up at 6.00 am and head into the city for all the sales. I’m getting so excited!
Enjoy the remainder of your week, lovelies. Over and out xx