Whilst there are hundreds of versions of paella out there, this version is by far the most successful for me in my everyday kitchen. It is super easy and even easier when everything is chopped up and ready to go, and of course very tasty. No need for any fancy paella pan either!
Feel free to mix it up with your favorite meat and fish selections as traditional paella, depending on its regional origin, really can be a combination of different proteins and vegetables. I have also tried this dish without sherry, substituting it with larger quantities of chicken stock, but have found that the addition of sherry gives it a far better flavour! Also, if you have your own beautiful home made stock, this will make all the difference!
My last but most important tip is to try your very hardest to not mix the paella during cooking time. It is so, so, so, tempting to mix it to check if its burning, but trust me, its well worth avoiding temptation. This is what allows the rice at the bottom to develop that famous crunchy layer that adds a wonderful texture and flavour. I have to admit, nerves sometimes do get the better of me! At just over half way, I peel back the smallest section of rice in the middle of the pan, with a small spoon, to double check its not too burnt. However in saying this, my husband loves the burnt bits the best!;)
I hope you enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from the lovely Lorraine Pascal)
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 4 x chicken thighs - chopped into 1.5cm chunks
- 170g chorizo sausage - chopped roughly the same size as the chicken pieces
- 2 x cloves of garlic - chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¾ cup of sherry
- 1.5 cups of Arborio Rice
- A pinch of saffron
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 1 x large handful of spring onions - sliced
- 300g uncooked shrimp
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1 x handful of flat leaf parsley - finely chopped
- 2 x limes + extra to serve
- salt and pepper - to season
- Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a generous sized pan over a medium heat. Once you have chopped the chicken, season with salt and pepper and add it to the heated oil to fry off until browned. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid stewing the chicken.
- Once the chicken is done return it all to the pan and add the chorizo till it starts to get colour on the edges (about a minute). Then add the garlic and the paprika till fragrant (about 1 minute), avoid burning the garlic.
- Add about half of the sherry and let it almost evaporate before you add in the rice, butter, saffron and chicken stock. At this point, almost all of the mixture should be covered with liquid.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer the pan for about 15 minutes uncovered. After 15 minutes, cover with a lid and cook for another 15 minutes or until it had a slight bite. (I don’t have lids for my pans so I make one out of foil and it does just fine!) *Remember the key is to avoid stiring this rice mixture!*
- About half way through cooking the rice, heat another pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and add the spring onions till they begin to colour, but not burn!
- Add the shrimp to the oil and cook until they are blushing pink. Try not over cook as they will continue to cook a little when added to the rice later on.
- Add the frozen peas to this mixture until they are just heated through, then add the remaining sherry until evaporated.
- Once the rice and the shrimp are done, add the shrimp mixture to the rice, along with the juice of two limes. This really lifts the dish so don’t skimp.
- Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the paella with the chopped fresh parsley and serve with extra lime wedges on the side.