from one generation to the next
One night last week we played TV catch up. Rick Stein’s journey around Spain sent us into an Andalucian reverie, which naturally led to us reminiscing about the food we ate and loved while there. Jamon Iberico, chorizo, sardines hot off the plancha, ortiz anchovies, melt in the mouth calamari and the most amazing black paella, coloured and flavoured with squid ink.
I had made paella once or twice in the past from an old Time Life book about Spain, but after sampling many paellas in Spain, both good and bad, I hoped my palate memory would help me create a really good, and hopefully authentic version of this much abused dish. It did!!
For the stock: make this first
The head and shells of 12 prawns
1 stick celery
1/2 large carrot
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat the oil in a medium size pan. when hot add the prawn shells and sear them over a high heat until well coloured. Add 2 litres water and the vegetables. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer 1 hour. Strain.
For the sofrito: make this second
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic
3 tomatoes chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat the oil in a medium sized pan, sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper until translucent. Add the chopped tomato and simmer until all the moisture has evaporated. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper
The Paella : bring it all together
1 chicken thigh
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Spanish Calasparra rice ( you can use basmati instead)
About 600mls hot prawn stock
Good pinch saffron stamens soaked in 2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup frozen peas
Kernels 1/2 cob corn
1/2 cup young broad beans double shelled (optional)
12 green prawns, peeled and deveined
Sauté chicken and chorizo. Add the rice, paprikas and bay leaf and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the sofrito and stir to combine, then add the saffron and enough stock to cover the rice by 1 cm depth. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover tightly and simmer over a low heat for 15 mins. Scatter peas,corn and broad beans over the surface and arrange the prawns on top. Cook a further 3-4 mins. Allow to rest uncovered for 5 minutes before serving.