This is a bit involved, but not difficult, and if you do it like I did – with some prep beforehand – it won’t take you away to the kitchen for very long when your guests are actually there. It also means minimal serving effort as it’s just the one big dish which can be plonked in the middle of the table and everyone can serve themselves.
What to use
- 400g bomba paella rice
- 125g cooked king prawns
- 6 free range chicken thighs
- 75g cubed pancetta
- a 225g chorizo
- 2 salmon fillets
- 1 onion – chopped
- 4 cloves garlic – crushed
- 1 red pepper and 8 red cherry tomatoes – blitzed
- 120ml white wine
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- juice of half a lemon
- bunch of parsley – chopped
- lemon and lime wedges to serve
How to use it
First, I pre-cooked the salmon and the chicken. Put the salmon on a large piece of aluminium foil, and fold it up and around, making a sort of bag in which the salmon can steam – ie no gaps to let the steam out. It’ll take about 15 mins in a 180 oven.
Put the chicken thighs on a baking tray (with sides – see later), rubbed in olive oil and sprinkled with paprika, and roast for 20-25 minutes.
Remove both from the oven and set to one side – leave the salmon in the foil, and put the chicken in a bowl and cover.
The chicken will have stuck to the tray, leaving a sticky, meaty residue. You should use this. Boil a kettle and fill the tray with the boiling water. Leave for a minute or so and it’ll dissolve the meaty juices and lift the sticky bits off the tray – good for cooking AND washing up. Stir to make sure all the bits are lifted off and dissolved, then pour into a sealable container and set aside. This will make part of the litre of chicken stock.
Next I made a sofrito – a base sauce where the intense flavours are built up. I made this a couple of hours in advance, and left covered until ready to cook the paella.
Heat a good glug of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the pancetta until it browns, then remove with a slotted spoon (leaving the oil in the pan) and set aside. Add the chopped onions and chorizo and cook gently (you might have to turn the heat down). You want the onions to soften without allowing them to brown, and you want the chorizo to release its orange oil.
Add the crushed garlic and the teaspoon of paprika and cook for a minute. Chop the red pepper, put it in a blender with the tomatoes and a glug of oil and squeeze of lemon and little drop of water, and blitz. Add the tomato and pepper mixture, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper, the parsley and the pancetta, stir well and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes so it’s bubbling and reducing slightly.
Turn off the heat and cover until you’re ready to finish off and eat.
When you are ready to make the paella…
Use the chicken stock you made earlier from the roasting juices, and add more (using a stock cube) to make it up to a litre.
Put the paella pan of sofrito on at a medium-high heat and when hot, add the rice and the white wine. Stir everything together and simmer until the alcohol has burnt off – about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat so the mix is simmering. You’re going to leave it to cook now without stirring again, so spread your chorizo chunks evenly so everyone gets a bit when it comes time to serve.
Leave to cook for about 15 minutes without stirring. After 15 mins, the rice should have absorbed a lot of the liquid.
Add your prawns and chopped chicken by pushing them down into the rice, again evenly spaced, and continue cooking about 5-10 minutes. You may need to add a bit more water – just pour a small amount over the top if that’s the case.
Break the salmon fillets into chunks and again push the pieces into the rice but only half way down so some is on the surface. The heat of the pan will heat it through. Heat for 5 more minutes.
The rice should have formed a sort of crust on the bottom, called a socarrat.
Remove from the heat and serve with wedges of lemon or lime.
- Mmm rating: mm mm mm
- Cost per person: £5.20
- Calories: 500
- What to listen to while cooking: Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris – Outside
- What to watch while eating: Your guests filling their happy faces
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