We’re going to start this post off by saying this is not an authentic Paella (lo siento Spanish amigos), and no Paella with Chorizo will ever be considered authentic. In fact it’s highly frowned upon and could even be a criminal act (not really).
BUT, what we are saying is is this IS cooked using a traditional process, a process which a lot of people don’t actually know outside of Spain. We are lucky enough to have a Spanish team member who’s given us all of the secrets to making the BEST Paella.
This Paella is crazy good – good enough to convert a Spanish person to the idea of adding Chorizo to it. Good enough for the lucky people who’ve tried it to say it’s one of the best one’s they’ve eaten outside of Spain. I don’t know what it is out there, whether it’s the climate, the water or the surroundings that just make it that extra bit special!
It is almost guaranteed that you’ve been making Paella wrong all your life and that’s ok. We don’t know how to make it in this country, because we’ve never truly been shown the correct method. As mentioned, at Fork & Twist we are lucky to have someone on the team who is in fact Spanish, and her father is the master Paella maker of his Village – he makes it for everyone, in HUGE batches. Believe us when we say it’s the greatest Paella you can have in Spain. Nothing like the traditional restaurant you might visit out there, it’s packed full of flavour, tender meat on the bone such as Pork and Rabbit, and all kinds of seafood. They also make the stock from scratch too. This is the difference.
This recipe takes the methods learned from her father and teaches you how to make one properly. Ok, it has Chorizo, and he would probably be furious his Paella recipe has been tampered with, BUT we are obsessed with Chorizo in the UK and to be honest it just tastes really, really… really good with it.
Set aside about an hour to prepare and make the dish. It’s advised that you invest in a good Paella Pan if you’re going to be making this more than once (trust us, you will 100% be doing so). Ours is from here, and it’s amazing and cheap at £11 (and it’s BIG). However, if you don’t have one or don’t want to buy one, it can be made in a large frying pan – just make sure it’s big enough to handle this amount of rice & water. Do not use a wok or a saucepan to make this rice. It will not work.
We will get into the recipe in just a second, promised.
But we need to mention CRISPY RICE. It’s a known fact in Spain the a Paella is truly great when there is a layer of crispy gnarly rice stuck to the bottom of the pan. People in Spain genuinely fight over these pieces, and I get it. It is hands down the best bit. It’s where all of the flavour has concentrated into these crispy, chewy bursts. It’s like Paella on steroids. We will teach you exactly how to achieve this in the recipe.
Another mention needed is the seasoning. Traditional Paella seasoning consists of:
- Good quality sweet paprika (dulce pimenton)
- Saffron – this adds colour
- Garlic – please use fresh, not that powdered nonsense.
- Parsley – again, use fresh.
- Carmencita Paella Colorant – basically a powder that makes your Paella super vibrant and yellow. A bit like Turmeric, which could be used as a substitute.
However most people in Spain, Maria’s father included, often use a packaged Paella mix. The BEST one by far is a little pouch we got from Spain for 2.50 Euros. It’s made by Yervaman and it’s called “Preparado Paella – Mix for Paella”. Good luck trying to find it though, it’s impossible. We are down to our last portion for one more Paella and we are going to savour every. single. bite. Another very good alternative is Paellero, which you can find on amazon here. It’s highly recommended to use this as it will give you the best, most authentic taste. They also give really great Paella tips on the back, brush up on your espanol though, because non of it is in English. Authentic right?
Anyways, enough talk let’s cook!
Paella with King Prawn, Chicken and Chorizo
- Paella pan (or large frying pan)
- Wooden Spoon
- Garlic Press (optional)
- 500 g Bomba Paella Rice
- 1100 ml Chicken stock try to avoid powdered stock cubes, the better the stock the better your paella
- 240 g Runner Beans green beans will work too
- 1 large Red Pepper
- 2 Garlic Cloves, pealed and minced
- 1 handful Chopped Parsely
- 1 large Tomato, grated could use a tsp of tomato paste if feeling lazy (not authentic though)
- 8 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs trim off excess fat, cartilage and bone
- 50 g Cured Chorizo, diced small
- 16-20 Raw King Prawns roughly 3-4 per person
- 2 tbsp Paella seasoning if using saffron on it's own, soak in chicken stock for 2 mins to infuse
- Weigh the rice and put in a bowl ready to use
- If using a jelly stock pot, boil the kettle and make up the chicken stock. Two pots per 1000ml.
- Trim the ends off the runner/green beans and then chop into small chunks.
- Cut the end off the red pepper and then cut into long thin strips. DO NOT DICE.
- Mince the garlic.
- Grate the tomato and place in a bowl ready.
- Trim the chicken thighs of any impurities such as bone, excess fat or gristle.
- Slice and dice the Chorizo.
- If your prawns are frozen, get them out now. Pour over warm water to speed up the defrosting process.
Making the Paella
- Get your pan on a medium high heat. In this recipe we are assuming you're using a Paella pan which is NOT non-stick. When up to temp, add some oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add the red pepper strips to the pan and cook for roughly 2 minutes until they just start to brown. Keep them stirring. Once cooked remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
- In the same pan with the same oil, add the chicken. Cook the chicken on one side for about 5 minutes until a golden crust forms. It may stick to the pan a little but use some tongs to pry it free and wiggle until it comes loose. Flip and cook on the otherside for another 5 minutes until a golden crust forms. Remove from the pan. They do not need to be fully cooked at this stage. Dice the chicken into large chunks.
- In the same pan as the chicken, with the same oil, turn down the heat slightly to a medium heat and add the green beans. Cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly soft.
- Add the diced chorizo and cook until the oil seeps out and becomes slightly crisp. Keep an eye on the chorizo as it can burn quick. Stir often and turn over with the tongs to ensure even cooking on all sides.
- Add the minced garlic and stir constantly to cook for 30 seconds. Do not let it burn.
- Add the chicken and any juice back into the pan. Stir to combine.
- Add the chopped parsely and grated tomato (or tomato paste if feeling lazy).
- Straight away follow up with a little chicken stock, enough to easily cover the bottom of the pan by a few mm. Use the wooden spoon to scrape away the chicken bits and golden crust on the bottom of the pan. This is essential flavour and the technique is called "deglazing".
- Add in the rest of the stock.
- Add in the rice (don't wash it), stir to combine.
- Add the Paella seasoning, stir to combine. (Spaniards add the seasoning after the water, not before).
- Bring the heat to a high setting and get the stock bubbling. Once bubbling hard, turn down to a medium-low heat. The water should simmer (small bubbles round the edge or dotted about the centre of the pan). At this stage stir the Paella often with the wooden spoon, you don't need to stir every second of every minute but say, every 20-30 seconds until it starts to thicken. You will know when.
- Once the rice begins to absorb the water, keep stiring so it does not catch on the bottom too much. This is the part which needs TLC. At this stage you can taste - how is the seasoning? Do you need to add more salt, or more Paella seasoning? If so add now.
- Keep stirring and stirring as it thickens. It should start almost resemble a Risotto at this stage, but keep sitrring.
- After about 20 minutes of cooking (roughly speaking) the rice, it should have absorbed most (not all) of the water. What you should be left with is yellowy rice with a slight saucy coating. At this stage, even out the top of the paella with the back of the spoon.
- Add the raw prawns (can be frozen at this point) and poke into the rice. Add the red peppers on the top of the Paella in a circular formation (as described in the pictures).
- Cover with tightly with foil, turn the heat to low and let it cook like this for 10 minutes. This will steam the rice and remove alot of the crunch / bite from it. It will also generate a nice crust on the bottom of the pan - this is absilutely essentially for great Paella. Do not stir at this stage. DO ensure the heat is low as the rice could burn.
- After 10 minutes / when the prawns are no longer raw, remove from the heat and onto a trivet / heat proof surface.
- Cut some lemon wedges for garnish (1 wedge per person).
- Bring to the table as the centre piece with 2/3 large spoons for everyone to dig in. Serve in deep pasta bowls and a squeeze of lemon and enjoy!
- Use good quality bombs Paella rice. Get it on amazon if you need too.
- Use the best quality Paella seasoning you can. Paellero is a good place to start. If you make your own, make sure it's good. Your Paella is nothing without good seasoning.
- Layer up the flavours as er the recipe guide, and you will be in Paella heaven.
- DO NOT ADD PEAS. It's not traditional. It's better without.
- DO NOT cut up the pepper into chunks and add into the Paella. Red peppers sit on top of the paella to be enjoyed properly, not like mush.
- Only use red pepper - green is not welcome here.
- Stir often at the start, when it thickens keeping stirring all the time and give it the TLC it rightfully deserves. You will be repaid with great Paella.
- Covering with foil at the end, turning down the heat and letting it steam and get crispy is absolutely essential. Do not skip this part. Equally, do not have the heat high.
- A Paella pan will always generate a better Paella. Invest in one, they're £10.