Basic paella

Paella

Happy sunny days everyone! As soon as the weather starts to get better, the days get longer and we start spending more time outdoors, I start to crave paella – particularly when spending time with friends. It’s so convenient! It takes a bit of time to prep but then it comes together fairly quickly and you can really feed a crowd in the same amount of time as it would take you to feed a couple of people!

Now, let me be clear: I have not grown up in Valencia and therefore to all purists out there this is technically not paella but for the rest of us regular humans – I think you’ll enjoy it! I live in the UK so I use ingredients I find at the store, but if you want to go the extra mile and buy the rice, saffron, paprika powder and all the other things from Spain – please be my guest! It still won’t be real paella unless you’re making it in Valencia.

 

Paella

 

With that being said, I this recipe is yummy! I tend to make it with meat most of the time because 1. who doesn’t love chorizo and 2. not everyone loves seafood! But if you’re interested in seeing different variations let me know and I’ll show you! The basics are the same but there are a few variations, particularly when cooking with seafood. Also, you can leave the meat out altogether (but why would you?!) and just add some more veggies, plus use veggie stock to keep it completely veggie. Super versatile!

So if you want to learn how to make a basic chorizo and chicken paella let me show you what you need and how to make it so that you can enjoy it all summer long! 

Paella
In case you weren’t sure about this – the crunchy bottom “burnt” bit of the paella is something that’s actually made on purpose and it’s called “socarrat”.

 

 

Ingredients:

Paella

  • 400g chicken
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 250g chorizo
  • 400g short grain rice
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce (or 1 tbsp tomato paste)
  • 130ml white wine
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1.2L chicken stock (or stock cube)
  • 120g frozen peas
  • Bunch of parsley
  • (Optional) 1 lemon
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

 

How to make it:

  • First, prepare your liquids:
    • Break apart the strands of saffron with your fingers and put them in a small amount of boiling water (about 50ml)
    • If you’re using a stock cube, dissolve it in boiling water (1.2L) at this point. If using stock, go to the next step!

Paella Paella

  • Then, chop up all your main ingredients – your chicken, pepper, onion, garlic and chorizo
    Paella
  • In a large pan (or ideally a paella pan) drizzle some olive oil and turn on your stove on high heat. Once it’s hot, fry up your chicken just until it gets some nice color. Season it with salt and pepper.
    • The chicken doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this point, we just want to give it some color.

Paella

  • When your chicken looks nicely golden, take it off the heat and set it aside.
  • If you need to, add a bit more oil and put the onion and pepper on the pan to fry them up. Again, we want some color to develop. Season with salt and pepper.

Paella

  • Once your veggies are looking nicely colored, add your garlic and chorizo and fry for another couple of minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant and your chorizo starts to release some of its oils.

Paella

  • At this point, add in your paprika and tomato sauce (or paste) and stir it all together until it looks even in color.

Paella Paella

  • Add in your rice and fry it up together with everything else for a minute or two until it all looks fairly uniform in color and your rice is starting to get a bit toasty.

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  • At this point, add your wine and stir it all together until it’s pretty much evaporated completely.

Paella Paella

  • Once you’ve cooked off your wine, add in your saffron and your stock, pop your chicken back in and mix everything well until it looks even.

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  • This is important: put enough heat on your pan so that it boils gently (don’t want a rolling boil here) and LEAVE IT. Do not touch this anymore.
  • While your rice cooks, it’s a good time to chop up your parsley as fine as you want, and cut your lemon into wedges (if using it).

Paella

  • After about 15-20 min your water should be mostly gone – now you can touch your rice! Give it a gentle stir and try it.
    • If it’s cooked – jump to the next step.
    • If it still has a little bite to it, add in some more water (ideally hot), mix it gently and back off again, until the water is almost gone. Then repeat.

Paella

  • If your rice is cooked, add in your peas and mix them all through one last time. Keep going on a low heat until all your water is gone.

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  • This is the other important part: once your rice is cooked and your water is gone, crank the heat up to high and listen to it.
    • Give it a couple of minutes or so – you should hear it sizzling. You want to lightly toast (not quite burn!) the bottom bit of your paella but here’s where it all can go wrong.
    • After a couple of minutes grab a spoon and gently lift some rice from the side of your pan. This should give you an idea of what’s going on at the bottom.
Paella
This is how I like to check how my socarrat is looking. Once I see that the sides of my rice are starting to get toasty I leave it for another 30 – 60 sec and then it’s done!
  • When you’re happy with your socarrat, turn off the heat and LET YOUR RICE REST. This is the last important thing here. It makes a huge difference!
    • It’s a good time to plop your lemon wedges on there and bring it to the table. Hopefully by the time you dig in it’s had enough time! 5-10 min should do the trick.

Paella

  • And that’s it – a delicious homemade paella for you and your family to enjoy!!

 

Top tips:

  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell just how much water you’ll need. It really depends on so many things! I like to start with 1.2L for the 400g of rice and just take it from there. I usually have some boiled water on the side so I can add some extra in and just keep cooking it. Just make sure to only stir when the water is pretty much gone!
  • This recipe is super easy to multiply – as a general rule, I calculate about 100g of rice per person, depending on sides and other foods. This paella makes enough for 4-6 people.
  • On this recipe I’ve used chicken breast as it’s what I had at home but actually, chicken thighs tend to work better. They are super flavourful and it’s nearly impossible to overcook them, particularly when making something in water! It’s definitely the better idea here.
  • If you want to skip the chicken altogether that’s also fine – just add more chorizo or veggies. Traditionally it’s made with rabbit so you’re also welcome to use that instead.
  • Remember when you cook anything to keep seasoning every layer of your dish! That’s how you get well-balanced dishes. It’s crucial and not any different in this situation.
  • If you don’t like wine, don’t worry – you can’t taste it here! It just adds a bit more depth of flavour and it’s another way to season your rice. If you’re worried about the alcohol, don’t be – it evaporates pretty much completely. If you really don’t want to use it though that’s also fine.

 

Paella

And that’s it! The most time-consuming part of making paella is the prep – particularly chopping up all the veggies and the meat. But apart from that it’s so easy and simple! And whether you’re making it for 2 or 8 people it pretty much takes the same amount of time which is also great when it comes to entertaining.

As I said before, it’s not technically a traditional real paella but for most people I think it does the trick! It’s yummy and flavourful and perfect to feed a crowd on a beautiful summer day! 

 

Paella

I really hope that you give it a try and love it and as always, thanks for tuning in and supporting me! I really appreciate it and love to hear from you – what do you think? What do you want to see next? 

Have a great start of the sunny season everyone and see you again soon!

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