Our Seafood Paella recipe uses many of the traditional Spanish Paella methods but adapts some of the techniques to fully utilise the modern kitchen. This recipe is made with Spanish Rice but you can also use Long Grain or Basmati rice. Spanish Rice is preferable as it creates a texture a little more like a risotto. This retains moisture in the dish and helps blend all of the ingredients together.
The dish is thought to have originated near to Valencia a couple of centuries ago. Some varieties include meat as well as seafood. Good quality seafood is essential to give a great taste but can be adapted to personal preferences to always give a dish that you will enjoy. Prawns can be removed from their shells before serving if the seafood looks a” bit too real” and is not appetising. If a vegetarian dish is sought, omit chorizo and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
The name Paella, pronounced ‘pay/EH/yah’ in Spanish and is named after the large dish used for centuries by the French and Latins. Today, many appealing pans can be bought to serve the Paella in a dish that is perfect for a small group to enjoy or a cosy dinner for two. Paella in Spain is often cooked for large gatherings in the town Piazza, with residents all bringing their own twists to the dish and using ingredients that have been locally sourced and are in season.
If meat is wanted in the dish add 500 g of chicken breast cut length-ways into fairly thin slices, then in half.
- Serves: 2-4
- Preparation Time: 20 mins approx
- Cooking Time: 30 mins approx
- Ready In: 50 mins approx
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 10 large Fresh King Prawns (blue in colour until cooked)
- 450g Green Lipped Mussels (or other mussels if preferred)
- 250 g Thick Cod or similar white fish (this can be smoked if omitting the chorizo to add the smokiness)
- 200 g Spanish Rice
- 150g thickly sliced Chorizo (optional – leave out for a vegetarian dish)
- 500 g chicken breast (optional).
- 1 large Spanish Onion or 2 smaller brown Onions – chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled, lightly pressed and thinly sliced
- 100 g fresh or frozen Garden Peas
- 4 medium Ripe Vine Tomatoes – 3 diced, one sliced
- 1/2 tsp fresh or dried Oregano
- 750 ml Chicken Stock (or vegetable stock if preferred)
- 110 ml Dry White Wine
- 2 tbs Modena Vinegar or Lea & Perrins Sauce
- 1 large Red Bell Pepper – 1/2 sliced, half chopped
- Bunch of fresh Parsley – 1/2 chopped, 1/2 for serving on top
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- Black Pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp low sodium Salt
- 300g Squid (optional – not used in this recipe)
- Saffron threads (optional as expensive!)
The dish is ideally cooked in a large 30cm or larger Paella pan and non-stick frying pan but just frying pans can be used.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in the paella pan
- Fry the onion for 2 minutes on a medium heat turning frequently
- Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute
- Turn the heat up high. Add the chorizo and pepper, turning frequently to brown but without overcooking the onion.
- If using chicken add with the chorizo.
- Add the squid (optional), turn down to a medium heat and fry for 2 minutes
- Add the tomatoes with the salt and oregano on top, fry for 2 minutes then stir the mixture
- Slowly add the wine then turn the heat up to high
- Add half the stock to keep the liquid bubbling, (but not all of it), then turn down the heat to medium
- Add the rice and stir, ensuring that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan
- Grind black pepper over the mixture to taste
- Add the saffron threads (optional)
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on
- Using a non-scratching spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan ensuring nothing is sticking
- Add a little more liquid if required (this is gauged by the consistency of the mixture which should be just immersed in liquid with the rice visible)
- Add the peas and mussels
- In a separate non-stick frying pan, fry the fish in 2 tbsp olive oil for 4 minutes, turning once
- Add the whole prawns and cook for 1 minute on each side
- Add the Modena vinegar or Lea & Perrins sauce
- Fry for a further 2-4 minutes until the prawns are cooked (the prawns will go pink once heated but need to cook right through for a total of 4-6 minutes in a hot pan depending on their size).
- Add the fish to the paella mixture, removing any bones first
- Allow the prawns to cool slightly before peeling or adding to the Paella dish
- Cook the Paella mixture for 15 minutes until the rice is cooked but not soggy!
- Add 1/2 the parsley and the juice of a lemon (by squeezing the lemon over the paella in a small colander, you’ll catch the pips)
- Cook for a further 1-2 minutes
- Serve immediately whilst piping hot with crusty freshly made bread and quarter lemon pieces
- Paella dish with lid or large frying pan – 30 cm or larger
- Large non-stick frying pan
- Measuring spoons
- Small colander
- Flat bladed non scratching spatula
Hints & Tips
- You can vary the main ingredients based on your tastes and budget – try adding chicken or other fish for variety
- Discard any mussels that do not open
- If peeling fresh prawns, remove the head, tail and digestive tract, the dark part behind the head
- To stop the Paella from becoming stodgy, gradually add the stock as needed rather than adding all in one go
- Keep the mixture from sticking by regularly using the spatula right to the bottom of the pan
- The lemon will add an extra boost to the flavours just before serving
- Try to source good quality ingredients