Quick’ish Paella

DinnerMade a quick paella the other day. I took a large frying pan and added a splash of olive oil. To this I added some diced onions and cooked them until soft. I then added the paella rice and it always makes sense to use paella rice, and never any other kind of rice. I ensured that the rice was well coated in the oil and onions before adding some chicken stock and saffron. Always got to use saffron.

Simmer for twenty minutes adding more stock if required.

While this was cooking I grilled some cod and prawns that I served on top of the paella rice.

I didn’t have any “proper” chorizo so I cooked some sliced chorizo which I placed on the finished dish with the cooked prawns and cod.

Though delicious and all eaten up, I was slightly disappointed with the paella rice I had used, which was from Sainsbury’s. My normal paella rice is the one from Tesco, so I think next time I will buy that instead.

Books on Paella and Spanish Cooking.

Sainsbury’s Paella

Yesterday I needed something quick for lunch and as I was passing Sainsbury’s I popped in thinking I would get a salad, in the end I bought a paella to bung into the microwave at work.

Lunch

Paprika and garlic chicken and king prawns with savoury arborio rice, red pepper and peas sprinkled with chorizo.

I kind of knew what I was expecting having bought paella from Sainsbury’s before.

This was very similar to that experience, but had more flavour than that version. It was nowhere near what I know I can create in the kitchen, but for a quick lunch it was pretty nice.

The difference saffron makes…

Tonight I made paella, something I seem to do on a regular basis. Tonight though was different and the reason was I had no saffron.

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus and it imparts not just a rich golden hue to the paella, but also importantly adds flavour too.

So don’t get me wrong, the paella was very nice, what with onions, pepper and peas, but the lack of saffron was very telling and I think next time I want a rice dish, and I don’t have saffron in the house, I will be making risotto instead.

How my paella should have looked, a rich yellow colour….

Chicken and Prawn Paella

Tonight I took the time to make a paella using a slightly different recipe to the one I normally do.

This time I took some chicken thighs (for flavour, they generally have more flavour then chicken breasts). These I tossed in olive oil and an Italian spicy herb mix. These were browned in a hot frying pan and then removed.

To the hot pan I then added diced onion, red and green pepper and courgette. When these were softened I added the paella rice. Do use paella rice or rice suitable for paella and not the rice at the back of the cupboard. The rice needs to both take on the flavours in the pan, but also soak up the stock and cook. Using other types of rice usually results in a wet paella with undercooked rice.

Having coated the rice in the oil, pepper and onion mix, I added a large splash of white wine and some chicken stock. As the rice cooks I stir the paella and add more stock as required.

After ten minutes of cooking I added the previously browned chicken. Ten minutes after that I added a handful of frozen peas.

Meanwhile in a separate pan I cook off some thick slices of cooking chorizo sausage. If you are using dried chorizo then just add them as they are to the pan when you add the peas. On my griddle I also cooked some large prawns.

Ten minutes after adding the peas, I added the cooked chorizo sausage, the grilled prawns and some slices of lemon.

Cooking Chorizo

If you have eaten chorizo in the past, either the thinly sliced stuff you get in packs next to the ham, or the whole chorizo sausage that you are finding more and more in most supermarkets, then you probably will find that cooking chorizo really should be on your shopping list.

Now this is cooking chorizo and really does need to be cooked. I have been using it in a few recipes recently, in the main paella, but also chorizo frito al vino.

My method is to cut the chorizo into slices about quarter of an inch thick. Fry in a large frying pan until sealed on both sides and just starting to go a little crispy. At this point I add the red wine (Spanish red wine is best, but I am sure you can use any good red wine).

Cook the chorizo for a few more minutes. Serve as part of a tapas or with salad. The red wine with the chorizo makes a wonderfully spicy sauce which you can dunk warm soft bread into.

Sainsbury’s cooking chorizo comes as smaller whole sausages and these can be cooked whole, but will take a little longer.

Another recipe was to add it to lentils. In a large frying pan, saute some diced onions, pepper and pancetta. I added some stock and tomato puree and simmered for about ten minutes before adding the sliced cooking chorizo. This I cooked for a further five minutes.

The next stage was to add the lentils, I usually use tinned green lentils. I finished the dish with some basil, though parsley would have been better.

Another way I use chorizo is to add it to a tray of roasting vegetables to add texture, flavour and spice.

In many ways cooking chorizo is a versatile ingredient that is in many ways much easier to use than tradition air dried chorizo. I would air caution though, make sure it is proper cooking chorizo and not chorizo style sausages otherwise you will be disappointed.

Paella with chicken and chorizo

I seem to be cooking paella more and more recently.

The key for me is the right kind of rice and saffron. I really do like the way the saffron adds not just colour, but also flavour.

After that you can add many different things to make a really nice paella.

The dish above contains in addition to the rice and saffron, the following, chicken, chorizo, prawns, onions, pepper, pancetta and peas. This is different to the last time I cooked paella.

There is something about paella, the richness, flavours that I really enjoy.

Paella

I seem to be cooking paella more and more recently.

The key for me is the right kind of rice and saffron. I really do like the way the saffron adds not just colour, but also flavour. Some people I know have used tumeric, however that is most certainly not saffron, and though adds a similar colour, the earthiness of tumeric really can ruin an otherwise decent paella.

After that you can add many different things to make a really nice paella.

The dish above contains in addition to the rice and saffron, the following, chorizo, prawns, onions, pepper, pancetta and a small tin of tomatoes.

There is something about paella, the richness, flavours that I really enjoy.

Sainsbury’s Paella

So there I was at Sainsbury’s looking for something for lunch when I happened upon the Taste the Difference Paella.

Marinated succulent King prawns, chicken and chorizo made with a fresh smoked paprika-tomato ragu and saffron flavoured bomba rice topped with chargrilled red peppers.

I had seen this many times before, and though I like Paella, at £6, wasn’t really how much I wanted to spend for lunch and, I wouldn’t buy paella to eat at home as I can make a better one.

However this time it was not only on special, half price, it was also as the sell by date was today, it wasalso  reduced to £1.99.

Now I don’t mind spending £1.99 on lunch.

So how was it?

Well first the photograph above is the actual dish and not some marketing photograph.

The chicken was moist, the prawns were succulent and the peppers were nice. However the rice lacked flavour, I couldn’t taste the saffron, the chorizo was tasteless. Glad I only paid £1.99 for it and not £6!

So basically it was okay as ready meals go, but I couldn’t taste the difference.

More Paella

Took some courgette, onions, pepper and some pancetta, and fried them together in a large heavy pan with a splash of olive oil.

I then added the paella rice, and it always makes sense to use paella rice, and never any other kind of rice.

Ensuring the rice was coated in the onions, pepper and oil, I added a splash of white wine. I then added saffron and chicken stock. The saffron I had infused in hot water. This helps to bring out the traditional yellow colour in the paella.

Simmer for twenty minutes adding more stock if required.

A few minutes before serving I added cooked prawns and slices of chorizo. I was using cooking chorizo which I had cooked separately. A handful of chopped parsley adds flavour and colour.

The dish was the put together and served.

I would have liked to use more shellfish, but all I had was prawns to hand, nice to have used squid and mussels.

I made mine quite dry this time, in the past I have added tinned tomatoes which makes for a more “wet” paella.

Spanish Paella

Made a paella the other day.

I took a large frying pan and added a splash of olive oil. Take some pancetta and add diced onions, aubergine, courgette and soften them in the large frying pan. I then added the paella rice, and it always makes sense to use paella rice, and never any other kind of rice.

I then ensured that the rice was coated and added a splash of white wine. Then I added saffron and chicken stock. The saffron I had infused in hot water. This helps to bring out the traditional yellow colour in the paella.

I didn’t have any chopped tomatoes so I added a squirt of tomato puree instead.

Simmer for twenty minutes adding more stock if required.

I added some sliced chorizo and slices of red pepper.

In a separate pan I pan fried some prawns and squid.

These were then added to the paella and it was served.

Books on Paella and Spanish Cooking.