Friday 27 August 2010

Paella Recipe

by ferdie

Just recently we were invited to do a shoot with the Hairy Bikers, so this Monday just gone we popped over to the BBC to do it. It was a great deal of fun, not to mention an interesting insight into how a studio works and how (fast) TV shows are filmed and put together. I can't really tell you any more about that right now, big tease I know!! ; ) But what I can do is post up the recipe for the paella (see pronunciation below) that we made during filming. I always get asked for the recipe when I make it so here goes.
Me mum with her paellera!
INGREDIENTS: (This list is for an 18inch paellera which will feed 8-12 people)
Mussels and Fish stock
200g small prawns (2-3 cm pink shrimp for stock)
40g unsalted butter
500ml white wine
15g lemon thyme
25 fresh medium size mussels (not bigger than 2 1/2 inches)

Chicken and Chicken Stock
1 free range, corn fed chicken (or chicken wings if you're not comfortable cutting up a chicken)
1 lemons  (zest of and juice of)
3 chicken stock cubes (added to pint of boiling water)

good quality extra virgin olive oil - EVO
4 onions
1 red pepper (diced)
8 cloves garlic (chopped thinly)
6 very ripe large vine tomatoes (diced)
2 soft chorizo sausages
2 tsp smoked paprika,
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp saffron powder or saffron

400g Calasparra (paella) rice (or Bomba)
1 large squid (body at least 8 inches) 
8 large king prawns (heads on)
150g fine green bean
100g fine (thin) asparagus tips
1 lemon (sliced)
10g parsley (for garnish)
maldon salt

Good ingredients = happy guests!
Prep ingredients,
clean mussels
clean and prepare squid (cut body into rings and separate the tentacles)
onions diced
tomatoes diced
dice red pepper
chorizo sliced
grate lemon for zest
trim beans and asparagus (if required)

Put the chicken into a non stick frying pan skin down to start, and brown off. It doesn't need any oil adding the fat from the chicken will be enough. Cook 10-15 minutes so the chicken is almost completely cooked adding the 1/3 of the lemon juice, the lemon zest and some salt and garlic 5 mins before the end. This gives a fantastic lemon flavour to the chicken and add to paellas complex and sumptuous flavour. Don't forget to de-glaze the pan the the rest of the lemon juice and some water,  add this to the stock.

For the fish stock put the butter into a pan, melt, and add the shrimp, some salt and the white wine. (if the shrimp are big enough and you want to use the bodies just put the heads in, they give the stock flavour) Bring to the boil and mash up the heads then add the thyme and turn the heat down a little. Put a sieve (or steamer) onto the pot, add the mussels and cover for about 5-10 mins until mussels have opened.
Discard the mussels that have not opened.
Strain the stock with a sieve.

You're now ready to start combining your ingredients!
Don't be shy about adding plenty of extra virgin olive oil when creating the base.
In the peallera:
Sweat onions with the red pepper, and garlic in EVO until the onions are clear.
Add a good chog (4-6 tbsp) of EVO, wait until the oil is hot and the tomatoes stir until emulsion starts to form
Add the spices and chorizo, wait until the fat from the chorizo starts to seep
Add mussels, chicken and green beans.
Add the mussels, the chicken and the stocks, and the green beans.
Add the rice bring to the boil and then set to simmer, top up with stock (or water) if necessary about 15 mins
When there's five mins to go lay the squid, the prawns and asparagus on top.
The rice should be cooked after about 20mins - check. You may need to turn the prawns once if they're really big ones!
Once rice is cooked put to one side and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.

HINTS AND TIPS: My auntie Paz usually does a stunner of a job, and gets the rice at the bottom of the paellera crispy, I manage it about 75% of the time, you've got to get the stock just right so the rice is perfectly cooked through out and dries to a crispy layer on the bottom!! Such a lovely crispy layer rich with flavour - socarat!

Paella is normally cooked on an open fire, often outside, if you're doing it on the stove, the paellera will likely cover more than one hob. It's very important to turn it frequently so the rice is evenly cooked!

If you can't get Calasparra - quite often tricky - I replace it with a medium grain risotto rice 75% and pudding rice 25%.
Paella Factoids

The Paella Rice
Traditionally made using  Calasparra rice, in recipes often see Bomba rice (a type of Calasparra rice) from rice growing river crossed area south west inland from the city of Valencia.

Paella is pronounced as follows:  pa as in (pa)nts, e as in (e)gg, and lla as in (ya)nk. Yup the two ll's sound like a y!!! : )

Paella Varieties:
Seafood Paella (Core ingredients):
mussels, tiger prawns, langostines, clams, squid, fish - usually a meaty textured fish that holds together and takes up the taste

Valenciana (the original)
canelini beans, lima beans, chicken, rabbit, green beans

Mixed Paella (my favourite, and the one I usually cook)
Other alternatives to my recipe upstairs are rabbit, eel, duck, snails and pork.

Fidua (Paella de Fideos)
This uses short noodles (videos) instead of rice, with boneless pork, cuttle fish, langoustines and mussels

Cheats Paella
In essence it uses a cast iron pot to get a more even rice cook but at the cost of the fabulous presentation and the crispy bottom that a paellera afford you. Boo! This does remind me of a wonderful dish Arroz al Horno - Baked rice which is completely different but just divine and great comfort food.

Arroz Negro (Black Rice)
Usually squid and squid ink, post on this coming soon.

Mariniera Rice (not really a paella but very similar with a little more sauce):
Prawns, mussels, cockles, clams, squid, baby octopus, monkfish - or similar textured fish

Be careful if you add cumin and change the fish ingredients to ham and sausage you end up with a Jambalaya, a New Oreleans dish apparently inspired by paella! : ) Which exactly what happened to me rather embarrassingly when I was cooking a paella for a friend in Malaga and incorrectly recalled the spice list.
Err... just doing a little quality control Simon!
I can't believe that we don't have a picture of the finished article! That's what happens when you leave Uyen and me mum on their own with a finished paella!!! It dissapears!!! Rapidly too!


  1. what a fantastico recipe - you and Uyen clearly get your skills from your wonderful mums (and aunties!)

  2. @gastrogeek
    Thank you x
    this is a great recipe! It was the most amazing Paella I ever tasted. Its all about love! x (Leluu)

  3. Hey Simon, great post, and nice to meet you mum! Can't believe I missed all this talk of Hairy Bikers and the BBC, I must have been in Mars! The recipe looks quite straight forward, and your Paella Factoids bit very informative. I so want to get a paellera now.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie


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