If I had to make one Spanish dish to impress people, this would be it. This is my mum’s recipe. It’s a real pleasure making this on a Sunday afternoon with people around. Making paella is all about the timing. The key elements are to make sure you simmer your stock in the pan with the browned meats so it picks up the caramelised flavours (you should be able to taste the stock in every mouthful of rice), putting the seafood in at the correct time so there is still enough stock left to cook it, and getting the grains of rice perfectly firm with no stock left. Make sure you don’t burn the bottom – this is the worse thing that can happen as the burnt flavour will go right through the paella.
Paella is the ultimate dish to feed a crowd. This mixta version combines seafood with pork, chicken and chorizo, so the dish explodes with flavour.
- extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
- 12 chicken wingettes
- 3 pork spare-ribs, diced into 2.5 cm cubes
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large ripe tomato, seeds removed, finely diced
- ½ red capsicum, ½ diced, ½ sliced
- 1 Spanish chorizo, sliced
- 1 good pinch saffron (crush in mortar and pestle with salt)
- 1 litre (4 cups) prawn stock (see below)
- 500 g paella rice (Bomba or Calasparra, see Note)
- 1 pinch saffron colouring
- 12 large prawns, heads and shells removed (saved to make stock), deveined
- 1 calamari tube, cut into rings or strips
- 12 mussels, debearded and half-shell removed
- 12 clams
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 24 prawn heads and shells
- 1 litre (4 cups) water
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.
Resting time: 10 minutes
To make the prawn stock, save the prawn meat from the extra prawns for another dish. Toast the heads and shells in large saucepan over high heat until slightly coloured. Add 1 litre water, bring to the boil, then simmer gently while you prepare the rest of the paella.
Heat about 5 mm of oil in a 30-40 cm paella pan over high heat, add the chicken and pork, season with salt and the paprika and cook until browned. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel.
To make the sofrito, add the onion, garlic, tomato and diced capsicum to the pan and cook until softened and slightly browned.
Add the chorizo and cook for 30 seconds.
Return the chicken and pork back in. Mix everything together.
Add the saffron and stir for 30 seconds.
Add the stock and about 200 ml water and simmer for 10 minutes, scraping the base of the pan to remove all the good cooked-on bits. Add the saffron colouring. Taste the stock and season to taste with salt (up to 1 tbsp).
Add the rice and gently spread over the pan so it’s level, bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat, without stirring.
While there is still a layer of stock on top of the rice, arrange the prawns and calamari, then stick the mussels and clams into the rice. Continue simmering until the stock has evaporated and the seafood cooked. While the rice is still slightly firm, increase the heat to high, and cook for 1-2 minutes until you hear the base of the pan sizzling to create the soccarat (brown crusty bottom) on the paella.
Turn off the heat, squeeze over half the lemon and garnish with lemon wedges. Cover with a clean tea towel and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
This is best shared at the table, straight from the paella pan with spoons to scrape the bottom.
This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.
This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.