Squeaky spent last weekend with her grandparents (shortly before coming down with chickenpox), so for Daddy & I it was the perfect opportunity to treat ourselves a little bit. A trip to the cinema (first time since the night before Squeaky was born!), and the kind of meal I can't make with a preschooler hanging around the kitchen wanting to help. We're off to Spain later in the year, so to get us looking forward to it, it was time to make paella. I apologise now to those readers of Spanish origin, because I am probably about to do untold damage to your national heritage, but for those of you who aren't, here's my take on it.
Thomson Al Fresco sent me a whole hamper full of paella ingredients to make my job a little bit easier, including a whole kilo of chorizo, and that little box you can see at the front, with real saffron in it! Saffron is the thing that makes paella into, well, paella, as opposed to just rice & stuff. Now that it lives in my kitchen, I feel all accomplished. I didn't need to use everything in this picture, there's enough to keep me going for lots of future meals, so if you're planning on visiting me any time soon, you may well be eating it!
For two people, I used:
200g chicken, diced
approx 70g chorizo, sliced (or one of the sausages, as above)
3 or 4 roasted canned red peppers, chopped
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Either: half a sachet of paella seasoning, or paprika & saffron to taste
Here's how it goes:
Heat the oil in a paella pan, or a wok if you haven't got one. You need a wide & shallow pan, bigger than a frying pan.
Fry the chicken, onion and chorizo for a couple of minutes. You just want to colour the outside of the chicken.
Add the rice, and toss until it's all glossy with the oil. Add the seasoning and mix. Everything should now look scary shades of yellow.
Add the peppers.
Pour the water into the pan, and simmer until absorbed, about 20 minutes. (If your pan is small, add the water in 2 goes)
|The finished article|
We teamed it with a bottle of white wine, and followed it with homemade (OK, packet) Natillas Caseras, or Spanish Custard, as I'd picked up some mix last time we were in Spain, and I'd been looking for an opportunity to use it.
Paella is an incredibly versatile dish. Mine was made with chicken & chorizo, because that's what I had to hand, and what we eat most of. You can swap those for fish, seafood, other white meats (I have a recipe that includes rabbit, but I've not seen that in my local supermarket. Yet.) It's a great food to share, and that's kind of why I made it.
I remember when I was a lot younger than I am now, visiting my great aunt, who lived in Spain with her Spanish husband. One time we were there, he invited what seemed to be the whole village round (but was probably just his extended family), and cooked a huge paella for us all, outside on the terrace. I remember sitting at a big long table, and everyone passing prawn heads down the table to one elderly auntie who liked nothing more than to suck the meat out from them. Some memories never leave you, much as you wish they would! But that feeling of family, of community, of sharing a meal is really what it's all about.
Thomson Al Fresco offer family mobile home holidays in France, Spain & Italy. Paella is a great dish to cook & enjoy outdoors (but not in a rainy February!), and I'm just in the mood for a sunshine break right now, or as soon as the chickenpox passes. Why not try my paella out for your own Al Fresco evening?
Disclosure: I was provided with the contents of the above hamper free of charge for the purposes of creating this recipe. I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own. Links are provided for convenience, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.