Enjoying the last of summer: Paella

My mum was kind enough to bring me back a present of some saffron from her recent holiday, and so last night with the sun making what will probably be its final appearance for this year, I decided to embrace this ending of summer and make Paella.

This is a fairly simple dish which can be made with many different ingredients, it takes quite a while to cook, but is worth the wait.  I love the fresh flavours and the mix of meat and fish; it’s always really filling and is reasonably low fat as well if you stick to seafood!

My ingredients

First up I got all my ingredients together and prepared everything.  I decided to put chicken thigh, tiger prawns and squid in this dish.  I chopped the thigh into small pieces and coated with corn flour to tenderize (I have no idea why this works but it does!), cleaned the squid and cut it into rings and cooked my prawns before shelling them.  The rest of the ingredients consisted of about 2/3rds of a red pepper cut into 4/5cm thin strips, a onion thinly sliced, a clove of garlic which I diced, 40g of chorizo in chunks, about 50g of frozen peas, half a lemon, 100g of paella rice, 250ml of fish stock and a good pinch of my lovely saffron.

frying the onions and peppers then adding the chicken

I don’t own a proper paella pan, but I do have a lovely cast iron skillet, and when cooking for two this is a great substitute (for any more than two it gets a little crowded).  A paella should be cooked slowly and I started things off by gently frying my onions and peppers in about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and once these had softened a little but aren’t fully cooked (they have plenty of cooking left to do!), about 5 minutes or so, I added the chicken and the diced garlic.  After another 5 minutes went by and with the chicken starting to colour I added the chorizo and then the saffron and cooked some more allowing the colour to come out from both.

Adding the chorizo and then the saffron

Next up is the rice.  This went into the pan and was stirred and fried until the grain becomes translucent before pouring in the stock similar to how a risotto is made.  The main difference in cooking a risotto and paella is that you should stir a paella as infrequently as possible until the stock has been absorbed.

Adding the rice and frying until translucent before adding the stock

Once most of the stock has been absorbed the peas and the squid can be added.  A couple of minutes later I also added the zest and juice of half a lemon.

Adding the peas and squid, then the lemon

Finally, when pretty much all the liquid was gone I added the prawns and warmed them through before serving.

adding the pealed prawns

The final dish

This is the first time I had made Paella with saffron and the result was not as yellow as those I had made with turmeric.  It looked a lot of more natural being only slightly coloured and the flavour was great.  A lovely treat!

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2 Responses to “Enjoying the last of summer: Paella”

  1. Ananda Rajashekar Says:

    oh such a colorful food, sounds perfect for healthy filling dinner!

  2. Arlene Says:

    Looks delicious! I like your choice of seafood and you’re right- it is quite low fat.

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