Thursday, 30 May 2013

Delia Smiths Paella

The sun shone the other day, yes really for one day only, and it was warm enough to eat in the garden. Finding chicken thighs and prawns in the freezer gave me the idea to make a delicious paella.  Although I was missing a few ingredients and used some substitutions, this turned out to be a wonderful impromptu meal. There is something about eating outside in the sunshine which makes everything taste so much better. 

Serves 6
350g Paella rice (I used risotto rice)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
12 raw king or tiger prawns (I used a 250g pack of raw king prawns)
8 chicken pieces (I used chicken thighs and cut them into chunks)
110g of chorizo, cut into slices
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped 
1 pepper, chopped into strips
225g ripe red tomatoes, skinned and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped small
A pinch of saffron
1 heaped teaspoon of paprika
¼ level teaspoon of cayenne pepper
a handful of frozen peas
lemons to serve

Once you have peeled, chopped, prepared and assembled everything, heat the oil in the pan over a fairly high heat. Now season the chicken joints, adding 4 of them to the hot oil to sauté on all sides until golden brown, then remove them to a plate and do the same with the other 4 joints.
Next add the onion, pepper and chorizo and fry these over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until they're nicely tinged brown at the edges. Now add the garlic, paprika, cayenne and saffron and cook for another minute, then return the chicken to the pan, followed by the tomatoes, plenty of seasoning and 2 pints (1.2 litres) boiling water. (I used vegetable stock for added flavour)
Next, bring everything up to a gentle simmer, turn the heat down and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. After that, remove the chicken pieces and set them aside, then pour the rice into the centre of the pan. Bring everything back up to the boil, give a final stir and simmer, still uncovered, for about 10 minutes. During that time, shake the pan occasionally and move it around on the hob a little if the hob plate is not as big as the base of the pan.
Next, return the chicken, along with the prawns and peas, to the pan and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, adding a little more hot liquid if you think it's necessary. Now shake the pan again, making sure the rice is completely immersed. Turn the prawns over halfway through the cooking time – they will turn pink when cooked. The rice at the edges of the pan will take longest to cook, so to test that the paella is ready, take a little of the rice from the edges and check it's cooked through, then remove the pan from the heat and cover with a clean tea cloth for 5 minutes to absorb some of the steam. The paella is now ready – just garnish with the lemon wedges and don't forget to have hot plates ready to serve it on.

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