Many families in Spain have their own version of paella, each slightly different from the last. Some include rabbit or chicken, while others focus on seafood. This paella is a homage to my family from Mallorca and is made with both meat and fish.
Resist the temptation to stir the rice while it cooks, else you won’t get the all-important crispy base (called the socarrat). You do not need a paella dish to make this recipe: a large, flat non-stick frying pan – around 33cm/13in – will do.
- 3–4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs, each cut into 2–3 chunky pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 500g/1lb 2oz fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1–2 squid (defrosted if frozen), thinly sliced
- pinch saffron
- 600ml/1lb 5oz hot chicken stock
- 300g/10½oz bomba paella rice
- 300g/10½oz raw king prawns, shells on
- 250g/9oz cooked vac-packed mussels (the garlic butter ones are fine)
- 1 roasted red pepper (homemade or from a jar), sliced into long strips
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan (around 33cm/13in) on high heat. Once hot, fry the chicken for 5 minutes or until golden on the outside. Add the garlic and tomatoes and stir to combine, then add the paprika and fry for a minute until fragrant. Add the slices of squid and stir-fry for around 5 minutes until they start to colour, being careful to not overcook the garlic.
Add the saffron to the hot chicken stock and leave it to infuse for 1–2 minutes, then pour the stock into the pan. Bring the stock to the boil, then gently stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the temperature to a medium heat, give the rice one final stir then leave to cook, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes. Do not be tempted to stir the paella again – you want the caramelised socarrat to form on the base.
Arrange the king prawns, mussels and roasted pepper on the top of the paella in a spiral pattern. Cover the pan with foil, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for a further 5–7 minutes, until the rice is al dente and the prawns have become pink and opaque (the increased heat will also help create the crunchy socarrat).
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the paella to rest for 10 minutes, still covered.
Uncover the paella and serve with the lemon wedges, to squeeze on top.