The great thing about food and recipes is that you can add one or two local ingredients of your own and a new recipe is born. I guess that is the way many great recipes come about today. Like music and ideas, not many are truly originals anymore.
Paella is one of those traditional Spanish dishes that has been around forever and there are many variations dished up around the world today but my favourite is the mixed paella. A little chicken, some seafood and of course chourico. No matter what you put into it, the name still remains the same – “paella” derived from the word “paellera” which means pan.
I have one such pan which was given to me by my father in law. This pan is used for anything, from potatoes to casseroles and naturally, Paella.
The secret ingredient in paella is of course saffron, which gives the rice that distinct yellowish colour. Traditionally, the dish calls for rabbit, which I have not used and I have replaced the mussels in the shell with smoked mussels.
I had some friends around on Friday and made Paella but there was alot left over. I guess after some snacks and a little wine, no-one had much space left to indulge. Cooking around the fire is always great fun and the wine tastes better and better as you wait for your food!
What I love about Paella is that, for me anyway, it tastes better when eaten cold, the day after and straight from the pan…
On Saturday we went to the Jacaranda 94.2 Concert and that is where I enjoyed my paella (not straight from the pan) but still tasty. We had a lovely picnic on the lawn, listening to good music and feasting on paella.
What a wonderful dish to celebrate Earth Hour.
Lighting the lanterns at the 94.2 concert at 8h30 for Earth Hour.
Paella the South African way, outdoors.
This is my revisited, modified version of Paella.
1 large onion finely chopped
8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
125ml Tomato puree or two chopped tomatoes
2 small peppers (green and red or yellow)
Plenty olive oil
3 cups chicken
1 cup white wine
1 chicken chopped up into small pieces (could use chicken breasts as well)
2 tsp Paprika
Salt to taste
Rice (short grain)
¼ to ½ tsp saffron strands
1 chourico cut into thin slices
250g calamari strips
2 tins Smoked Mussels
8 – 12 King size prawns – 1 or 2 per person
Par boil the chicken pieces in a large pot for about 10 minutes and save the stock.
Place the large “paellera” on a gas burner or on the fire.
Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Heat the olive oil and add the onion, green pepper and garlic.
Fry gently for about five minutes.
Add the chicken pieces and the chourico and fry quickly for 2-3 minutes.
Add the shrimps and calamari strips and stir.
Add the tomato and simmer for another ten minutes.
Fry everything for about 2 minutes and add the wine.
Add all the spices ( paprika, salt, saffron and 2Tsp lemon juice)
Add the rice and enough stock to cover the rice.
Give it a taste and add more salt if necessary.
Arrange the prawns and mussels on the top and cover with a lid or foil and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked. This must be on very low heat and must be checked so as not to burn and dry out the rice. If the rice is getting too dry, add some more stock or water and gently shake the pan by the handles but do not stir.
This does not get stirred again until ready to serve.
Enjoy with a glass of dry rosé wine like Fish Hoek Rosé.