A Traditional Paella

With the weather playing all sorts of games at the moment, this traditional paella makes a perfect in-between dish. Warm enough for chilly evenings, but still summery enough to enjoy for lunch, it is one of the more traditional one-pot-wonders. Just-tender rice flavoured with herbs and aromatics, forms the base for chorizo, chicken and seafood - garnished with fresh lemon and parsley - it's intensely flavourful, for what is essentially minimal effort.

You can use any shallow pan, but if you're looking for an excuse to splurge, then a Le Creuset Buffet Casserole is just the partner for the job. Don't let the (long) list of ingredients put you off - it's also the perfect dish to help clean out the freezer. If you don't have chorzio, but you have pork bangers - there's no reason not to use them.
Serves 4
1 tsp olive oil

1 chorizo sausage, sliced into 1cm disks
150g chicken drumsticks
200g mixed seafood of your choice (clams, mussels, prawns, squid, calamari etc)
1 green pepper, chopped into cubes
1 red pepper, chopped into cubes
1 onion roughly chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
150g Arborio (risotto) rice
500ml good quality chicken stock *
400g tinned tomatoes
A small handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon cut into wedges, to serve

* I believe that using a really good quality chicken stock is important in this recipe, as the flavour really adds to the dish. Look out for fresh chicken stock in a tub (sold at Woolworths) or NoMU Fond stock concentrate. It’s a little bit pricier, but most definitely worth it

Heat a large, deep frying pan or casserole dish that you can use on the stove top (a Le Creuset buffet casserole is ideal in this case) and add your olive oil and chorizo. Fry for about 5 minutes, or until the red oil starts to escape from the sausage, and the chorizo starts to crisp slightly. Add the chicken pieces and fry for a further 5 minutes, before adding the peppers, onion, garlic, turn down the heat and fry gently for 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften, and the chicken is slightly browned.

Turn up the heat to medium high, and add the rice to the pan, stirring until well mixed and coating the chicken pieces. Add the tomatoes and just over half of the stock – let it come to the boil, then turn down and simmer gently for 10 minutes or so, occasionally stirring.

After 10 minutes, add your seafood and the last of your stock, and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the seafood is cooked and your stock is mostly absorbed : you don’t want the paella to be dry and crumbly, but it shouldn't be “soupy” either (unless, of course, that’s how you like it).

Once done, sprinkle with fresh parsley, serve with lemon wedges and get everyone to tuck in.


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