Paella may be the national dish of Spain, but its variations are practically infinite. The hard and fast rule about paella is that there are no hard and fast rules about paella. Apart from perhaps two matters. To make a truly great paella you need two things – beautiful stock and Bomba rice (even though some might dispute this and say substitutes like Arborio are just fine). Everything else depends on the whim of the cook. That’s you, or, in this case, us.
Our paella is probably what most would associate with being a traditional paella, with a couple of twists. First, we like to use Pepe Saya butter, not olive oil, when toasting the rice. Second, we do add chorizo, even though this seems to be frowned upon by some paella aficionados. Third, we like to braise our chicken before adding to the dish, ensuring it is beautifully tender even after being in the paella pan. Fourth, we just pop it in the oven, as there is no room for paella burners in our small apartment.
But this is paella, so anything you read here can be changed out, substituted, or omitted all together. Apart from the stock. And the rice. And the pan.
Paella? We love love, love it and would probably eat it every night if we could.
Requirements: One paella pan (make sure it fits into your oven!), a small pot, a large pot, a frying pan
Preparation and cooking time: Including the chicken braising, around 3 hours. Excluding the chicken braising, an easy hour and a half. Remember though, the bottle of Spanish red that you’re drinking throughout will make the time go quicker.
Feeds: 4-6 people (depending how hungry they are!)
500g Bomba rice
750ml The Stock Merchant Sustainable Crab Stock
500ml The Stock Merchant Free Range Chicken Stock
4 to 5 free range or organic chicken thighs, fat trimmed off, cut in half
2 free range chorizo (we love Saskia Beer’s Black Pig Free Range Chorizo)
600g firm, meaty white fish fillets, skin removed. Blue Eye Trevalla, Mahi Mahi or wild Kingfish are all fantastic – make sure bones are removed!
1 packet Cloudy Bay Clams
2 red peppers or one small jar of pre-roasted red peppers
1 cup frozen peas
One large onion and/or two shallots
Italian parsley, leaves plucked and chopped
Saffron (use high quality Spanish or Iranian saffron or even better, Tasmanian saffron)
Pepe Saya butter
Murray River Salt
1. Pour yourself a nice glass of red wine. Start drinking.
2. Trim and cut in half the chicken thighs. Place in small pot with some salt, 500ml Free Range Chicken Stock, bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 1.5 hours.
3. Cut on a slight angle chorizo pieces, fry until caramelised on both sides.
4. Remove chorizo pieces from pan and place on paper towels to absorb fat.
5. Add saffron to Sustainable Crab Stock in large pot, gently bring to a boil with the lid on and then turn off. Let the saffron steep.
6. Finely dice onion and/or shallots and fry gently in Pepe Saya butter until translucent.
7. Add Bomba rice and continue frying until the rice starts looking translucent.
8. Add rice and onion mixture to Paella pan.
9. Preheat oven to 180°C.
10. Cut fish fillets into eight or ten pieces, be on the look-out for bones.
11. Remove the chicken thighs from the pot, pour the chicken stock into the pot that holds the Crab Stock and saffron.
12. Turn the heat on the stock pot.
13. Sprinkle the peas on top of the paella rice mixture.
14. Nestle the fish and chicken pieces in the paella rice, forming a circle.
15. Scatter chorizo throughout the dish.
16. Place roasted red peppers in between the chicken and fish pieces.
17. When stock is boiling and oven is at temperature, carefully pour stock and saffron into the paella pan. Place immediately in the oven.
18. When the rice looks like it has absorbed most of the liquid, open oven door and carefully nestle clams in the mixture. Don’t burn yourself!
19. Continue cooking until clams have opened and paella rice has absorbed the stock.
20. Remove from oven. Scatter parsley over paella (it will look just beautiful).
21. Bring to table and sit on holding mats. Pour more wine for friends, family and yourself.
22. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!