Simple and scrumptious paella

Seems impossible to find a decent paella recipe that doesn’t take forever to make. Sometimes there just isn’t time to be all over it for 90 mins but you don’t want to miss out on this classic beauty. Well hello, I invented this for all of us who love great food but have a million other things to do. It’s quite free and easy, just use whatever fish or shellfish you can get; I happened to have bought some scallops, prawns and mussels from my fish man, so I used those but you can use squid, crayfish, anything that’s in season or available. I don’t think the chorizo is necessary, it tends to be a bit of a fashion item, but I’ll put it here anyhoos and let you decide. It does impart a tasty oiliness I must admit.

Looking for an authentic paella recipe is a task in itself, essentially it’s a peasant dish where whatever was available was thrown in; from snails to rabbit, to beans to pork. The fundament is the calasparra rice that keeps its separateness, without the ooziness of arborio rice used in risotto. This is garlicky, slightly tomatoey, slightly herby, slightly piquant rice with added random bits and bobs according to season and geography.

By the way, don’t be put off by what looks like a long list of ingredients, a lot of it is storecupboard stuff.

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Servings: 4
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed (I used frozen garlic, onion and chilli as I’m a lazy slattern)
  • 1 regular but large onion finely diced
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped finely
  • 70g of chorizo, cut into thin slices
  • 1 red pepper cut into thin strips
  • tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, don’t leave the stalks on unless you want to floss yr teeth at same time.
  • 320g of Calasparra (Spanish short-grain) rice. Do get this because risotto rice is too slush, and normal rice is all wrong. This keeps its separateness but at the same time is unctuous. Easy to get in most supermarkets.
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • a few large glugs of dry white wine, about a quarter of a bottle
  • about 500ml of chicken stock, heated with a couple of saffron strands if you have them. Feel free to use any light stock you have. Make a bit extra as you need to go by feel a bit here.
  • 2 free range organic chicken breasts cut into large pieces and browned in olive oil
  • a mix of any fish and seafood you like, I used mussels, scallops, chunky pieces of cod and haddock. You can also use squid or clams, whatever! About two heaped cupped handfuls altogether.
  • frozen peas, couple of handfuls
  • 2 large nicely ripe and tasty tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
  • 8 jumbo raw prawns, in shells
  • handful of chopped flatleaf parsley
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 fresh lemon for serving

Instructions

Heat a large glug of olive oil in a large, wide, heavy-based pan. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and fry gently for a few minutes until soft. Then add the pepper, tomato and chorizo and keep gently frying for 2-3 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until it’s nicely coated and glistening with the chorizo-flavoured oil. Then glug in the wine so it sizzles for a minute then add the thyme leaves, paprika, tomato purée, salt and black pepper and give it all a last stir.

Now pour in the hot chicken stock making sure you pour it over the whole surface of the rice as there’s no stirring from now on, then add the browned chicken pieces and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add whatever seafood you’re using and nestle it down into the rice without stirring, I added the fish pieces, scallops and mussels here – when using mussels remember to throw away any whose shells don’t open, I actually pre cooked mine for a few mins and de-shelled them but they do look lovely with shells on, I just wanted to fly under the radar with them to get the fam to eat ’em!

Leave the seafood to cook in the rice for a few minutes then add the frozen peas, without stirring and continue to cook gently for another 5-10 minutes. The peas need to stay nice and green.

Meanwhile, heat a good glug of oil with some more crushed (or frozen!) garlic in a separate pan and add the prawns. Fry quickly for a minute or two and set aside to use as a serving garnish.

When the paella is done (the rice should be al-dente) bring it to the table in its pan; arrange the prawns on top and scatter over the chopped parsley and some black pepper; serve immediately with fresh lemon quarters. The paella should have a crispy base and sides.

Nutrition Info

Shellfish

Eating a wide variety of shellfish should leave you feeling far from crabby! They’re packed with a diverse range of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals):

  • Iron – transports oxygen around the body and supports the immune system and energy production.
  • Zinc – supports a healthy immune system and gene expression.
  • Magnesium – an integral part of bones and teeth as well as being a key player in energy production and maintaining a healthy nervous system.
  • Vitamin B12 – is crucial for a healthy brain and nervous system. It also helps form red blood cells and helps to create and control DNA. Every cell in the body depends on B12 as it plays a part in the synthesis of fatty acids and energy production.

Shellfish are also a rich source of protein and hold a healthy reservoir of omega-3 fatty acid which is vital for optimal health. However, if something smells (very) fishy, you probably shouldn’t eat them.

Find your new natural

Make every day this delicious with a weekly nutrition plan from Nuush.

An octopus was born to hug.

Anthony T. Hincks

Portion Guidelines

Instead of living with the bore of weighing food, counting points or calories and tapping everything you eat into a phone you can use nature’s custom-designed tool – your hands!

Share this recipe