Paella is a Valencian rice dish. On a Mediterranean coast seafood paella is very common, other varieties of paella include vegetarian, mixed paella and many other as well.
Mixed paella is a free combination of meat and vegetables. For my paella I use chicken thighs, as they are moist and full of flavour and red peppers and peas to make the dish vibrant.
I do minimum stirring when cook paella, because, firstly, it cooks faster and secondly I like a layer of toaster rice at the bottom of the pan. In Spain it’s called socarrat and is considered a delicacy and essential to a good paella.
Add the stock, little at a time and only to cover the rice – if added more the rice will over expand. Add the next ladle of stock only if a trail can be clearly seen when stir with a spatula (see the picture above).
Garnish with fresh coriander, lemon wedge and braised cherry tomatoes.
To braise the tomatoes, place them in an oven safe dish in the preheated to 200C oven and cook for 10 minutes.
Voila, this is my chicken and peas paella!
- 2 chicken thighs
- 2 bay leaves
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 leek, halved and sliced
- 150 g risotto or arborio rice
- pinch of saffron threads infused in hot water
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- generous pinch of ground pepper
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp frozen peas
- chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
- lemon wedges to garnish
- cherry tomatoes, braised in the oven at 200C for 10 mins, to garnish
- Preheat an oven to 200C.
- Remove bones from thighs. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Put the bones, bay leaves, season with salt and cook for 15 mins. Strain the stock through a fine sieve.
- Meanwhile, cut the thighs into bite seized pieces.
- Sear on a hot dry oven safe pan for a couple of minutes, then put in the oven for 10 mins (keep the juice). Set aside.
- Pour the oil and place the leek in a hot pan over medium-high heat. Add a ladle of water and sweat until the leeks are soft and translucent (no stirring).
- Add the rice and warm it through.
- Slowly add the stock and saffron water, just to cover the rice. Add a little at a time or the rice will over expand. Do not stir as it will take longer to cook the rice.
- Once the rice is just cooked gently mix in the garlic paste, seasonings, red pepper, frozen peas and chicken pieces with juice. Cook until rice and peas are done.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if required.
- Serve with chopped parsley, lemon wedges and cherry tomatoes,