Seafood Paella with Chorizo and Pancetta

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Caitlin and I came to the conclusion last week that paella is pretty much risotto, and we love both equally as much. When we like something, we tend to go slightly overboard with cooking or eating it. A few years ago, we became obsessed with a recipe for pumpkin risotto with goats cheese and basil (I think a Masterchef recipe) and we made it so often (I once ate it for lunch and dinner for three days straight) that I can never eat it again. Maybe one day in the distant future. We did this with quite a few things... Singapore noodles and Gelatissimo every single Friday for two years in high school, peanut butter cookies every free period, and we also had a brief obsession with pies. Luckily, as much as we both love paella, we've refrained from eating it too often, and its still as delicious as the first time we ate it.

You can use any large, shallow pan to make paella, but I bought one from Wheel & Barrow for really cheap! They come in lots of different sizes, so make sure you're getting one to feed enough people (: I think mine is a 36 cm pan for 6-8 people. If you get a polished paella pan, be really careful to read the instructions for use properly and then follow it. I didn't and it started rusting :( It said to boil water in it, wash with water and detergent and dry immediately, before lightly oiling inside and out. I didn't oil it straight away, and it was all rather sad when I went to start cooking and a light layer of rust had built up! I just scrubbed with steel wool, rinsed and boiled again, and then oiled it thoroughly. It seems to be fine, but I'm still a bit iffy! 

Seafood Paella
Serves 6

- 1 brown onion, chopped finely
- 1 red onion, chopped finely
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 chorizo sausages, sliced (I like to use two different flavours for variety, but you don't have to)
- 300g chicken breast or thigh fillets, sliced thinly
- 12 slices pancetta, or bacon
- 12 large prawns, peeled and tails left on
- 400g seafood marinara mix (a mix of mussels, little prawns, fish, scallops and calamari rings)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 red capsicum, deseeded and sliced finely
- 1 green capsicum, deseeded and sliced finely
- 2 tomatoes, grated (throw out the skin), or alternatively, 1 can (250g) diced tomatoes
- 3 cups short grain rice
- pinch of saffron threads
- 2L chicken stock
- 3 teaspoons pimenton (smoked paprika)
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely, for garnishing

In a large saucepan, bring the stock and saffron to boil, and then lower to a simmer.
In a frying pan, heat some oil, and fry the chorizo until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
Fry the chicken strips until cooked through and golden brown, remove and set aside. Repeat with the prawns and marinara mix.

In a medium paella pan, heat a tablespoon of oil, and fry the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and softened. Add the capsicum and then the rice. Continue stirring and add the paprika and tinned tomatoes. Reduce the heat and add a cup of the stock at the time, and stir until stock has been absorbed. Add the chicken and chorizo and add another cup of stock, stirring until absorbed. Add the marinara mix and another cup of stock, and stop stirring. Turn the pan every few minutes to make sure the heat is evenly distributed. Repeat until all the stock is used up, and has been absorbed - it should take about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with peas, and top with the prawns. Remove from the heat, and cover with a large, clean tea towel and set aside for 10 minutes so a crust forms.

Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Have a wonderful day!



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