On a camping trip to bask on the utopian beaches of Byron Bay, we cooked up an equally utopian camping dinner: Seafood Paella.
While it may sound a little extravagant for camping, we did it at a pretty minimal cost and cooking it provided hours of evening entertainment (and a delicious breakfast and lunch the next day).
We planned ahead and brought parsley from the garden, as well as the necessary spices, stock and rice. Other produce was sourced when we arrived.
Key success features: $25 single burner camp stove, $80 lantern (purchased during power outage in the Brisbane 2011 floods), cardboard chopping board, cardboard box wind break, $2.99 cleanskin bottle Soft Dry Red and a solid Jackson Conti soundtrack.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
1 chorizo, roughly diced
1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
3 medium tomatoes
3 calamari tubes, sliced into rings
400g rice (Calasparra is traditionally used, but we’ve had success with both Risotto and Basmati rices)
1/4 teaspoon saffron strings, soaked in 1 tablespoon of water for 20 minutes
1 tablespoons paprika
250ml fish stock
250mL white wine
750g medium green prawns
1/2 kg fresh mussels
200g peas or green beans, chopped into inch-long pieces
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
lemon or lime wedges, to serve
Heat oil in the paella pan or a very large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add chorizo and capsicum and cook for 5 minutes, then add tomatoes and cook for a further 5-8 minutes, until tomatoes start to break down.
Add rice, saffron and paprika and stir for 1 minute. Stir in stock, water and wine.
When the stock is bubbling and enough liquid has been absorbed that the rice begins to show, about 10 minutes. Scatter over the squid, prawns and mussels.
Cook over medium heat for a further 10 minutes until the stock has reduced and the rice has begun to swell. Add the green beans, and push the mussels into the rice and cover with alfoil. Cook until the shells open. Finally add the parsley and leave it for five more minutes on low heat.