I have cooked this Basmati Paella with Chorizo, Chicken and Seafood 3 times in the past 4 days to ensure that I recorded the correct measurements, temperatures and cooking times. Only the best recipes for you! So if you have never tried cooking paella, this might just be the recipe for your first attempt. Basmati rice is not used in traditional Spanish paella. I use it as I prefer a drier paella and it holds the shape of its grain well.  I buy a good quality brand of basmati rice that does not have a strong aroma, is pretty neutral and taste similar to long grain rice. I went through 5 brands of basmati rice before I found a brand that I am confident of recommending. To find out the brand of basmati rice that I use, please view my blog post on Lightly Flavoured Basmati Rice

Basmati Paeilla With Chicken, Chorizo And Seafood

Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 30 minutes
Inactive:
Level: Intermediate
Serves: ~6
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Not advisable unless you have an extra pan. You could use a larger size pan provided you have a burner large enough to heat up the larger size pan.
Make ahead? Soup stock may be prepared 2 days before.

Ingredients

The Proteins
1.25 lb (550g) (~ 4 large) chicken legs (thighs and drums)*
1 cup (4.5 oz) (125g) Iberico chorizo
14 oz (400g) Medium to large sized shrimps/prawns with heads and shells
1 lb (450g) Venus clams, rinsed
1 lb (450g) Ready-cooked frozen mussels on the half shell, defrost in refrigerator**
Soup stock
2  Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onions diced
1/4 cup carrots diced
1/4 cup flat leave or Italian parsley stalks***
Chicken bones and prawn shells from chicken and prawns listed above
4 cups (1 litre) water
1/4 cup white wine or beer *
1 teaspoon saffron threads**
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika***
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder*
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt**
Everything else
4 Tablespoons + 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onions diced
1 cup red pepper/capsicum diced
2 cups basmati rice***
3 and 1/2 cups soup stock made from recipe above
1/4 cup flat leave or Italian parsley leaves chopped
1 lemon cut into 8 wedges
* Even though I prefer breast meat, I would not substitute the brown meat here.  You need the bones for stock and dark meat would not dry out like breast meat would in paella.
** Saves you the hassle of cleaning them and they are often plump and taste great.  I have never had a bad mussel this way.
*** I choose to use flat leave parsley and not the large celery stalks so that I can use the leaves for sprinkling over cooked paella. Why buy two kinds of vegetables when youcan do with one?
* You want flat beer so open the can of beer to let gas escape and than measure required volume. Please note that you should not add more than 1/4 a cup of beer. Too much beer would make the paella taste too much like, well, beer!
** It would not be Paella without saffron but I know it might be difficult for some of you to find it so substitute with an additinal 1/2 teaspoon on top of what is listed in ingredient list above.
*** I sometimes leave this out when I do not want the ‘smoky’ flavor.
* This gives it a nice pale yellow colour without the taste of turmeric. Do not add more unless you want the paella to actually have the flavour of tumeric.
** You would not be salting paella any further, so I suggest you follow amount of salt called for. It would be harder for you to work in the salt when rice is cooked.
*** I do not rinse rice. However, you must buy a good quality basmati rice. Click here, to find out more and the brand I prefer to use, Lightly Flavoured Basmati Rice.  

Method

Prepare Soup Stock First
1. Deboned chicken and cut meat into 2″ (6cm) pieces. Mix 1 teaspoons salt into chicken. Refrigerate. Set chicken bones aside.
2. Remove prawn heads, shells and any visible black/blue veins running along the back of prawns. Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt into prawns. Refrigerate. Set heads and shells of prawns aside.
3. In a stock pot, saute onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil at medium high heat, until the edges turn brown. This caramelization at the edges is necessary.  It gives the stock a richer taste.
4. Add carrot, fry 5 minutes. Add chicken bones and prawn shells and stir another 5 minutes. Do not stop stirring at any point as you want a good caramelization of all the vegetables and proteins. It would be quite dry at this point.
5. Add 1 cup of water. This is when I take my potato masher out and mash up all the goodies in the pot. You can use the back of a large spoon.  Add the rest of the water. Turn heat up to high.
6. When it comes to a boil, use the potato masher or the side of a knife to smash the celery stalks and add to the stock pot. When stock returns to boil, turn heat down to medium.  Do not cover.
7. After 20 minutes, remove from stove top.
8. Once stock has cooled sufficiently, drain in a colander. Do not discard solids yet. You should have about 3 and 1/2 cups of stock.
9. If you have less stock, return the solids in colander back into the stock pot. Add enough water into the stock pot to make up for the shortfall of stock. Crushed the solids with potato masher to get as much flavour from the solids in the stock pot.
10. Now, drain this stock to get the full 3 and 1/2 cups of stock required. Set aside. Keep any extra stock aside. You might need it if the paella gets too dry.
11. Add the white wine or beer, saffron, smoked Spanish paprika, turmeric, pepper and salt. Set aside. You can make this stock up to two days in advance.

Paella
1. The Ready-cooked frozen mussels should be defrosted.
2. Remove the outing casing from chorizo and slice into 1/8″ (3mm).
3. Heat up a 15″ (38cm) paella pan on high heat. You could use a similar size wok or flat bottom pan. When pan is hot, add 4 Tablespoons olive oil. Wait 5 seconds. Add chicken pieces and brown. Do not cook through, half cooked would be perfect.  Leave chicken juices in pan and remove chicken pieces. Set side.
4. In the same pan, add 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add onions and red peppers. Stir continuously.

Live dangerously. Keep stirring and let it get a deeper brown hue around the edges.  About 1- 2 more minutes. Don’t let it burn though! It will continue to brown after you add the chorizos.

5. You want the vegetables to brown at the edges. Keep scrapping bottom of pan to incorporate the caramelised brown bits into onions and capsicum.
6. Add the chorizos stir until it starts to render some oil, about 3 minutes.
7. Add rice and stir just to mix about 1 minute.
8. Add soup stock. Once it comes to a boil, add chicken and cover. Cover with aluminium foil if you do not have a lid. Reduce heat to medium high.
9. For easy reference, I have outlined what you would have to do for the next 20 minutes or so.

Task
Cooking Time
Rotate pan ¼ clockwise.
4 minutes
Rotate pan ¼ clockwise.
4 minutes
Rotate pan ¼ clockwise.
4 minutes
Remove cover. Insert clams into rice. Arrange prawns over rice. Turn heat to high. Cover. Rotate pan ¼ clockwise.
2 minutes
Remove pan from stove.  Uncover. As mussels are ready-cooked, they just need to warm through. Arrange them quickly over rice so the pan/rice loses as little heat as possible. Cover. Leave it alone for 3 minutes. 
Remove cover. 

10. At this stage, taste the rice. It should be cooked through with a nice charred scent coming from the ‘socarrat’ – burnt bottom rice crust. If all is well, wedge in lemon slices and sprinkle the parsley.
11. If any item of seafood is not cooked, for instance, prawns are not pink and clams are not even opened 1/8″ (3mm), remove whatever seafood items that are cooked and set aside so they do not get overcooked. Then, cover pan and leave it alone for another 5 to 10 minutes. If it is still uncooked (very unlikely), cover a further 5 minutes or return to stove for 5 minutes on high.
12. When all looks well, remove from stove, uncover and return cooked seafood items to pan.
13. If rice is not cooked and it is still wet, check if clams, prawns and mussels are cooked. Whatever is cooked should be removed and set aside so that it is not overcooked. Then, continue cooking covered on medium heat. Check every 5 minutes until rice is cooked.
14. If rice is not cooked and it is starting to dry out, check if clams, prawns and mussels are cooked. Whatever is cooked should be removed and set aside so that it is not overcooked. Add any remaining chicken stock if not water. You would have to estimate how much liquid to add as it depends on how dry the rice looks and how raw it taste.  Generally, a good estimate for a 15″ pan would be to work on between 1/4 to 1/2  a cup of chicken stock. Continue cooking covered on medium low heat. Check every 5 minutes and add more liquid if required.
15. When rice is cooked, rearrange seafood. Wedge in lemon slices and sprinkle the parsley. Stroll with paella pan into dining area and serve immediately.

Tips

(1) Do not be tempted to stir the paella at any point. You would not achieve the socarrat and your rice might end up mushy and unevenly cooked.
(2) The last blast of 2 minute high heat is not just to get the clams and prawns cooked through but to ensure you achieve the ‘socarrat’. Achieving a ‘socarrat’ is supposedly a mark of a well cooked paella. I just like it because it is crusty with a lovely smoky taste.
(3) You could add green peas if you choose to at the same time as clams and prawns.
(4) Each serving should go with a wedge of lemon. Squeeze over rice. It cuts through the richness with it refreshing acidity. Try it at least once to decide if you like it.
(5) This is a real celebratory kind of food. So good to share with family and friends. It requires some effort but once you have the paella done you only have to whip out a salad. If you think about it, that is only two dishes you have to prepare for the party!

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

To keep with the Spanish theme, not that my Basmati Paella is anywhere near authentically Spanish, I almost always serve at the end of the meal, Churros, a fried sweet snack. Think doughnut dusted with sugar and/or cinnamon. I will tell you why I would serve churros over any other dessert. Firstly, it helps that it keeps with the Spanish theme. Secondly, your guests would think you went through all the effort of setting out a well thought through menu for them. Honestly though, and now I am going to let the secret out, it is because churros are so easy to make and so quick too.

Advertisements