At Ginger Towers (my husbands cheeky name for our home!) we love our food. My children as picky as all hell but when I find a dish which works, I like to roll it out semi-regularly (cannot be more than fortnightly, lest they get tired of it!) and see their hungry little mouths gobble it up!
This tempting treat is a real favourite, especially with my 3-year-old, (Dominic opposite: so called because he likes to buck EVERY trend) who laps this dish up every time. It’s also great when we have company, as it’s easy to eke out with some patatas bravas and breads and oils.
I like to cook it on a lazy Sunday with a large glass of Rioja for the chef (always me!). I tried a rush job of this on a random Wednesday evening when my eldest was rushing out for football training, and it was still yummy, but a longer cooking time is far more desirable for the dish to yield maximum flavour.
Ok, so Paella is not exactly haute cuisine, but we spend a fair bit of time in rural Spain and for us, it’s a real treat.
I’d love to chuck in any old meat or fish, but as is the norm for our picky boys and myself, we favour the safe but nonetheless delicious choice of Paella De Carne. Chicken & Chorizo is our favoured combo. Obviously you can add anything you like, it’s a foolproof dish, made for friendship, family and fun: my favourite combination. We love to listen to some choice tunes, chosen by DJ Harry, my eldest ginger delight, and get stuck in.
So, for my sure-fire winning signature creation, grab some prime chicken breast fillets (thighs will suffice for most people, but not in my house!)
Prepare approx 700ml of chicken stock.
Fry off the chicken breasts (I hack the poor things up with a pair of sterilised household scissors, I hate touching or cutting raw chicken – bleurgh!) and fry them in little olive oil.
Simultaneously, over in my wok – well no one has bought me a proper Paella pan yet, despite my numerous hints!)
I fry off garlic (real cloves, never skimp on this!) chopped tomato, red pepper, and usually you would include onion, but I’m allergic to cooked onion so I don’t bother.
Add the rice – arborio or risotto rice will do perfectly well – to this and coat right through. Always turn the mixture inside out then inside in for maximum coverage.
Gradually add your stock and get that all bubbling away.
Then, in the pan with your now cooked chicken, add pre diced chorizo (hey, sue me, I’m on a time limit and my children only eat certain things in tiny, visually acceptable packages!) The juice from the smoky chorizo coats the chicken beautifully and makes for a rich mediterranean flavour.
Back in the bubbling wok, chuck in a teaspoon’s worth of paprika, a generous slug of red wine (or 3!) give it another hefty mix, throw in your chicken & chorizo and reduce the heat.
It’s imperative that you stir regularly as otherwise it turns into stir fry, and that would be an epic fail! I know most people out white wine in Paella, but I don’t drink it and I rarely have any to hand. Red works every bit as well!
Sprinkle in a generous half teaspoonful of Saffron for a rich colouring, then 15 mins from the end, add a large healthy smattering of petit pois (I use flash frozen ones) and keep on stirring!
As the stock is absorbed, you should still be stirring until the last few minutes before serving. The key to a successful Paella is a light crust on the underside of the rice, which doesn’t stick to the pan!
After around an hour you should have a delectable looking dish, rich in flavours, colours and textures. Add some lemon wedges, side with some fresh torn bread and devour! Enjoy!
Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it was received!