This is my interpretation of the iconic Spanish dish, paella. The oil from the chorizo imparts a delicious flavour.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (44 votes)

Though it’s hardly an authentic incarnation, the upside is you don’t have to travel to Valencia to enjoy it! 


  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g chorizo, thinly sliced into rounds
  • ½ brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 250 ml (1 cup) dry sherry
  • 125 ml (½) passata
  • 350 g short-grain rice (e.g. Calasparra or arborio)
  • 150 g (1 cup) podded peas
  • 1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

Cook's notes

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.


Combine the stock and saffron in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat off and place a lid on the pot to keep the stock warm.

Heat a large paella pan (see Note) or a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Pour the oil into the pan and give the pan a tilt to make sure the base is evenly covered. As soon as the oil starts to shimmer, add the chorizo and fry for 2 minutes or until it starts to colour and the oil has rendered out.

Add the onion, garlic and paprika and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the sherry and cook for 5 minutes or until nearly evaporated.

Add the passata and rice and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring to combine, for 2 minutes.

Add the stock, giving the whole mixture a good stir to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the peas and fennel and cook for 5 minutes.

After the stock has absorbed, cook for a further 5 minutes to allow a crust to form on the base.

To finish, check the seasoning and garnish with the preserved lemon and parsley.


Cook’s note

Paella pans are available from kitchenware stores and Latin grocers.


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury. Creative concept by Belinda So.


Paul West is the host of River Cottage Australia, 6pm weeknights on SBS and on SBS On Demand. For more recipes from Paul, click here.