Saturday, 12 May 2012

Paella

This was my first foody post to twitter - a simple homemade paella on the Cadac! What we like about paella is that's it is so versatile, you can bung almost anything in. We give everyone a choice of one or two items before heading off to buy them and in this paella one of the kids picked octopus, luckily Morrisons had some! Its a great way of involving children in cooking and eating, they never fail to clean their plate of paella.







Base Ingredients:
1 large onion diced
1/2 chorizo ring diced
1 packet of bacon lardons
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 jug of hot chicken stock with a big glass of wine in it (about 1 - 1.5 litres)
1 bag of paella rice, or risotto rice, or simple short grain will do
3 cloves of garlic chopped
Olive oil, or rapeseed
Smoked paprika
Saffron if you are a traditionalist, Turmeric if not (I use turmeric)
Flat-leaf parsley
Lemon


Optional Ingredients:
Choose as many as you like. We tend to pick one protein and one veg each.

Protein:
Chicken (we use thighs)
Pork
Beef
Mussels
Clams
Monkfish
Peeled prawns
Head on prawns
Squid rings
Octopus


Veggie:
Peas
Sweetcorn
Carrots
Mushrooms
French beans
Broad beans
Peppers
Tomatoes


Method:
1. Get everything chopped up in bowls ready in advance. Put saffron or turmeric in the stock -  I also put chopped parsley stalks in the stock too.
2. Crank up the Cadac and brown any meat. Remove the meat, put to one side and cover.
3. In goes the diced onion and sweat it off a bit.
4. Add the garlic, lardons and chorizo, render out that lovely fatty paprika for a few minutes.
5. Sprinkle in the bag of rice, turning it and making sure it is all evenly coated in the fat.
6. Add enough stock to cover the rice and allow to simmer. Keep adding more stock if needed.

Traditional paella would now be allowed to simmer away and scorch the rice on the bottom to make it crunchy. This is called socarrat and to the Spanish it is the best bit. I prefer to agitate gently (not too much though otherwise the rice will go all starchy) to stop the rice burning, but the choice is up to you. My kids wouldn't eat burnt rice but I will try it on them when they're a bit older.

7. Add any meat browned at the beginning by pushing in gently until covered by the rice.
8. Add the vegetables.
9. Place any seafood on the top and steam for a few minutes.
10. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
11. Turn off the heat, squeeze in half a lemon or more and sprinkle over loads of lovely fresh chopped parsley.



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