Spanish Night at the Cabin – Classic Paella

Paella 2

Classic Paella with Chicken, roasted red peppers and Chorizo

This recipe serves 6 and is a great crowd-pleaser. It was my turn to cook at our log cabin holiday in Sherwood Forest, and all of my friends like different things (and some of them are just damn fussy), so I chose this dish because it has something for everyone. It was also a cost-effective way to feed 6 hungry forest ramblers on the second day of our log-cabin retreat/adventure holiday! The main ingredient is chicken (so the seafood-haters were happy) and the spicy element is completely optional (as you add the chorizo Piccante at the end) – so everyone was catered for, no one went hungry and everyone wanted ‘seconds’!!

This is a classic Paella, but of course you can mix it up my using seafood (tiger prawns, mussels and squid can be substituted for the chicken, just make sure you switch to fish-stock and leave out the chorizo altogether). If you want to make a veggie-version, use veg-stock, double the roasted red pepper quantities and add 200g of baby spinach leaves for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

This recipe takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, and serves 6 hungry people. It may well go further if you serve with bread and oils, or if you do have left overs, it’s great for lunch the next day, re-heated.

What you need:

  • a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
  • 100 g chorizo Piccante, thinly sliced (optional ingredient – if you want to add spice)
  • 800ml chicken stock
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 400g tins of whole plum tomatoes (use some scissors inside the tin to roughly chop the tomatoes) by doing this, the taste is sweeter that using ready-chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of frozen petits pois
  • bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped and half the stalks set-aside for later
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 375g Spanish Paella rice
  • half a jar of roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed, chopped into chunks
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

What to do;

  1. heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a wide frying pan (preferably with a lid but if you don’t have a lid then have some tin foil to hand) over a medium-high heat and cook the chicken until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. boil the kettle and add 800ml of boiling water to the chicken stock, adding the pinch of saffron, set aside.
  3. fry the onion in the rest of the olive oil until soft and golden, then add the garlic, parsley stalks, paprika and tinned tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. stir in the paella rice and season well with salt and pepper
  5. once the rice is stirred in, slowly add the chicken stock and bring back to a gentle boil – leave to cook with the lid off for 10 minutes and DO NOT STIR* – it’s tempting, but refrain!
  6. after 10 minutes scatter the cooked chicken pieces over the rice evenly and press them under the stock using a wooden spoon.
  7. sprinkle over the peas and the roasted red peppers, DON’T STIR – just give the pan a gentle shake, allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through.
  8. turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid or some tin foil (ensure it is tight) and allow the paella to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  9. serve your paella in the middle of the table with a serving spoon, with a generous sprinkle of the parsley leaves and give a few good squeezes of the lemon wedges (and the sprinkle over the chorizo, if using).

*by not stirring, you are encouraging a slight crunchy layer of rice at the bottom, which will make the dish more authentic

¡Buen apetito!

Paella 1
Classic Paella, served with chopped flat-leaf parsley and lemon wedges
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