Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Breaking the Paella Rules

I missed out on the paella while in Spain, but I was lucky since Aldi was selling paella rice, so I decided to give it ago. I must confess I have not made paella before and even though I finally embarked on it, I decided to go for a more of a short cut approach. Real Valencians would probably through a fit at this recipe, since traditional Valencian paella has rabbit and land snails in it. But all classic rice recipes - paella, jambalaya, risotto, etc - are perfect for seasonal produce, leftovers or whatever you fancy.

I made my paella with red onion, green pepper, chorizo slices and frozen king prawns. I used Spanish extra virgin olive oil, which I brought with me. It really gives a nice taste to the rice and will be available from most bigger supermarkets. I also added some red wine vinegar, which is probably against the rules. The tangyness of the vinegar was just perfect with the sweet tasting rice. To make this worse I served it with aïoli or garlic mayonnaise as we know it in the UK. Finally, I didn't use saffron either. Hey, I'm a student - that should say it all. The recipe really is what you make of it. Add leftover roast chicken and frozen peas. Splash some white wine in it. Make it veggie by adding a red pepper and a courgette to the mix. Whatever takes your fancy! I would suggest to enjoy it with a glass of Tempranillo or a cold San Miguel...


PANTRY PAELLA

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
50 g chorizo, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 chili powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
200 g paella rice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 chicken stock cube
water
100 g king prawns
salt and black pepper to taste
lemon wedges to serve

Chop the ingredients. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan (preferably with a lid). Add the onions, green pepper, garlic and chorizo. Fry until onion is soft. Add the spices and tomato paste. Saute for 1 minute. Add the paella rice and saute until coated in olive oil and spices. Add the chicken stock cube and water to cover the rice and simmer. Add more water until paella rice is cooked and the water has been absorbed (I know very vague -  some like paella rice softer, some more al dente). Once the paella rice is almost cooked add the king prawns (if frozen they will defrost in the steam, but will not get too chewy). Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges (and aïoli if you fancy it like I do).

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