“Frank Camorra says that it’s the man’s job to build a beautiful wood fire to cook the perol on. And while it’s the same cooking process as paella (also the name of a pan) it’s a bit wetter. He suggests using rabbit instead of chicken and pork, and cooking out in the open, as you can expect a beautiful smoky flavour.” Maeve O’Meara, Food Safari Fire
- 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) whole chicken, cut into 12–14 pieces
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) pork ribs
- 80 ml (2½ fl oz/ ⅓ cup) olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), seeded and finely diced
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper), seeded and finely diced
- 200 g (7 oz) cleaned calamari, cut into thin strips
- 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- pinch of saffron threads
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) dry white wine or fino sherry
- 300 g (10½ oz) calasparra or bomba (Spanish variety) rice
- 1.5 litres (51 fl oz/6 cups) hot water
- 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) whole green prawns (shrimps)
- 2 kg (4 lb 6 oz) mussels
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) clams
- 1 lemon, juiced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Thoroughly season the chicken and pork with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a perol or large round-sided pot over high heat.
Add the chicken and pork pieces, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4 minutes each side or until browned. Remove the meat and cover.
Add the onion and capsicums and sauté for 5–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. Frank talks about this mixture being almost jammy – the longer you cook it, the better.
Add the calamari and continue to fry for 10 minutes, stirring well.
Add the tomato, stir through and cook for 15 minutes or until pulpy, stirring occasionally. Return the meat to the perol.
Mix the saffron together with the warm water, and add to the perol. Add the wine or sherry, then the rice, and stir well.
Add the hot water to the rice and simmer for 5 minutes. Check for seasoning.
Add the prawns and cook for 5 minutes before adding the mussels and clams. Continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until the rice is just tender and the chicken well cooked. Season to taste with salt, and squeeze over lemon juice.
Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
Recipe from Food Safari Fire by Maeve O'Meara (Hardie Grant, hbk, $55). Photography by Toufic Charabati.