Paella is a great party dish – a single-pan banquet.
The size of the dish and variety of ingredients that can be used in a paella make it sure to feed and satisfy a crowd – from chicken, to chorizo, to seafood – there’s even breakfast paellas! We’ve enjoyed paella made with yabbies caught in a farm dam after a trip out West, for Christmas with local sand crab, and cooked on the beach over a fire with the catch of the day.
To ensure a characteristic rice ‘crust’ on the bottom of this dish, it is important you don’t stir the paella at any stage — try and resist the temptation!
Artwork by Rosalind Monks
Preparation time: 25 minutes + 20 minutes soaking saffron time
Cooking time: 45 minutes
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 chorizo, diced
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 red capsicum (pepper), roughly chopped
400 g (14 oz/2 cups) calasparra rice (or use risotto or basmati rice in unavailable)
10 saffron strands, soaked in 1 tablespoon of water for 20 minutes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) fish or chicken stock
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) white wine
3 squid tubes, sliced into rings
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) medium raw prawns, peeled, deveined with tails left intact
18 fresh black mussels, de-bearded and washed
200 g (7 oz/11/3 cups) peas, fresh or frozen (or use beans cut into 2 cm (3/4 inch) pieces
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
lemon or lime wedges, to serve
1 Heat the olive oil in the paella pan or a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic, chorizo, tomato and capsicum and cook for a further 5–8 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down. Add the rice, saffron and paprika and stir for 1 minute to coat the rice.
2 Add the stock to the pan, with the wine and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water and stir to combine. When the stock is bubbling and enough liquid has been absorbed that the rice begins to show after about 10 minutes, scatter over the squid, prawns and mussels and season well with seas salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat for a further 10 minutes, or until the stock has reduced and the rice has begun to swell. Add the peas, push the mussels further into the rice, and cover with foil. Cook until the mussl shells have opened (discard any that don’t open). Finally, add the parsley and leave the pan for a further 5 minutes over low heat until the rice is cooked.