Fourth time for Paella – first time in a normal pan, second time I bought a paella pan and followed the recipe that came with the pan, it was okay but only just okay. Fourth time – it worked, I used the wood fired pizza oven. It provides even heat to the entire base.
As I have never tasted a real paella I was sure that for a dish with so much fame attached to it, it should be better. It should be more than okay, so to the internet where I weeded out recipes that looked uncomplicated and fast. A traditional recipe that has regional variations passed down by families probably has some slow cooking allowing for flavour development and probably allows for variations like using what is seasonal and what is in the fridge. This is what I sought.
I bought a paella pan that is as big as possible and fits on the bbq plate. Even cooking is essential. At first I tried it over three burners on the barbecue, leaving only the two outside burners on during the slow cooking time. I also needed to close the lid on the bbq to get the rice on the top cooked through. The wood fired pizza oven provided a much better alternative. It cooked evenly on the base, the door could be shut for the cooking time and the base was crispy as required.
This is todays trial – and it was pretty good:
PAELLA RECIPE – INGREDIENTS AND METHOD FOR SIX
Prepare the meats
Cook each meat separately in oil in the paella pan, seasoning with salt and pepper, until browned and put aside:
- 1/2 kg salmon offcuts (1/2 bag),
- 1/2 bag (1/2 kg) frozen peeled prawns
- 2 smoked chorizo sausages
- meat from 4 smoked ham hocks or chicken
Prepare the saffron and put aside:
- 1/4 tsp saffron – toasted until it changes colour. Cool then crush with a spoon, mix with 1tbs boiling water
Fry in oil until softened and golden:
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Add the ingredients below and cook slowly until all moisture has reduced, then add another 1/2 cup water and reduce again. Should take about 1/2 hour:
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- add capsicum if no seafood is in the mix, can also use concentrated soup mix to intensify the flavours.
NOW BEGIN THE PAELLA
To the tomato mix add:
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 sprig rosemary
- toasted saffron/water mix
- add any vegetables: beans, peas, corn
- add previously cooked chorizo and other meats, leaving out fish and prawns – they are added at the end.
NOW TASTE THE MIXTURE – IT MUST BE VERY TASTY BECAUSE IT IS ABSORBED BY THE RICE – PAELLA IS ALL ABOUT THE TASTE OF THE RICE.
Adding the rice
- Add 1.2 litre boiling water and vegetta or chicken stock and bring all to the boil
- Add 450g Calasparra rice or paella rice (Water proportion is twice the rice and add a bit), stir to mix and bring to the boil, stir for the last time and turn down the heat, close the lid of the barbecue and leave until the rice is plump and does not have a hard centre. Add more water if necessary. This should take 15-18 minutes.
- Somewhere near the end of the cooking time add the prawns and fish, just poking it below the surface, but not stirring the mix. Add lemon 1/8’s evenly around the ege of the pan to roast slightly.
- Check the rice, if cooked add some chopped parsley, turn up the heat and leave for about 5 minutes to cook off the last of the moisture and get an even crust on the base of the dish.
- Remove from the heat, cover with a tea towel or large pizza tray and stand for about 10 minutes, then remove the cover and leave for a further 2 minutes before serving.
- Squeeze over additional lemon juice and serve.
PAELLA USING WHAT IS IN THE HOUSE – SPECIFICALLY LEFTOVERS FROM THE PIZZA INGREDIENTS
Ingredients / Method
- chicken pieces
- steak pieces
- salmon pieces
- garlic prawns
Put oil in the pan and cook each of the meats, keep the seafood and meat separate. Put the following in the pan and cook to soften ingredients making soffrito, adding a little water to allow it to blend together and
- sliced onions
- tomato pieces
- dried tomatoes
Toast the spices and grind them. Add a small amount of boiling water and add to soffrito.
Follow the instructions for Adding the Rice above.
Serve as above.