Paella is a great dish to feed a crowd, and you can include just about any ingredients you like to make it your own. I collected some of the best produce from around the Northern Rivers area to make this version representing the taste of the Pacific Coast.
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, halved, coarsely grated, skins discarded
- 300 g pork belly, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
- 300 g chicken thigh pieces, skin on, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 200 ml white wine
- 1 litre unsalted chicken or fish stock
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 500 g Australian Koshihikari rice (see Note), soaked for 15 minutes in cold water, drained
- 6 large prawns, such as Yamba
- 250 g frozen peas
- 6 large oysters, Pacific or Sydney Rock scrubbed clean, shucked
- roughly chopped parsley, to garnish
- 250 g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 rashers Bangalow pork bacon, fried and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 French shallots, minced
- ¼ cup finely chopped roasted capsicum
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
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.
Place a paella pan over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. Once hot, add the capsicum, onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until light golden. Add the tomato, season with salt and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes until reduced and slightly caramelised, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, to make the casino butter, combine the ingredients in a bowl, then set aside.
Add the pork and chicken to the paella pan, and cook for 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add the thyme, bay leaves and paprika, and stir well to combine. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the stock and saffron to the pan and bring to the boil. Scatter and spread the rice evenly into the pan making sure none of it is above the surface of the stock. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Once the rice starts to swell to the surface of the liquid press the prawns into the rice, reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 8-10 minutes. Scatter the peas into the pan and place the oysters on top, pushing them into the rice.
Spoon some of the casino butter onto each oyster. Stand for 5 minutes until oysters have warmed through and the butter has melted. Serve the paella immediately.
• Koshihikari rice is often sold as “sushi rice”. Alternatively, you can use Calasparra or Bomba rice.