We see so many Australian wineries suggesting Spanish paella as the ideal food pairing with their wines. It only made sense to share this recipe with our readers.
2 cups/400g Bomba rice – This short-grained variety is traditionally used for Spanish paella and is able to absorb more water than others, without becoming mushy. While many recipes suggest that it can be substituted with Arborio (Risotto rice), we don't recommend this substitution because Arborio results in a much more creamy preparation. If you don't have Spanish Bomba, use whatever you have in your pantry, and while the texture may not be the same, the flavours will be!
450g boneless and skinless chicken thighs
450g prawns – deveined and shelled
250g Chorizo sausage/ Italian sausage – Ensure that it's pork, not any other meat. Use hot if you like heat, mild if you don't. Remove the casings and thickly slice diagonally.
1 x 410g can chopped tomatoes & paste
3-4 cups/ 700-850 ml chicken stock
1 red bell pepper – diced
1 yellow onion – peeled and chopped
1 tsp/5ml paprika
2 garlic cloves – peeled and crushed using a garlic press. Alternately, finely chop and crush under the blade of your knife.
3 tbsp/45ml finely chopped flat-leaf parsley – chop along with the stalks, which have all the flavour
1 bay leaf
1 tsp/5ml Italian seasoning – Although not authentically used, this mix of dried herbs with onion & garlic powders, red chilli flakes and pepper does pack a flavoursome punch!
A few threads of saffron
2 tbsp/30ml olive oil – Use whatever you have. If you have both extra virgin olive oil and regular olive oil, use the latter.
Salt to taste
1. Pour half the oil over the chicken. Add the paprika, crushed garlic, Italian seasoning and salt to taste. You can add some pepper too if you like, though the paprika should give some heat. Mix, cover and refrigerate until the time it is to be used.
2. Place a non-stick skillet on medium heat. When hot, slide in the pork sausages. Don't stir continuously or you might break them. Brown. The sausage is going to ooze out its fat as it heats. Once browned, carefully remove the sausage onto a plate, using a slotted spoon. Add the remaining oil to the same skillet you think that there isn't enough fat (Sausage drippings) for the chicken. Increase the heat to high and add the chicken, reserving any juices in the bowl. This would ensure that the pores of the chicken are sealed, and its juices are retained inside. Again, don't stir the chicken. Check the piece in the centre of the pan in good 1 minute whether it has developed a brown sear or not. If it has, flip it and the remaining pieces over. Brown the chicken all over, then, reduce the heat to low and add any reserved juices. Cook till completely dry. Then, remove the meat using a slotted spoon to a clean bowl.
3. In the same fat, stir in the bay leaf. Tumble the onion and pepper in the pan. Season with salt. Sauté for 10 minutes, until softened.
4. Pour the rice into the skillet and mix well, so that it is slick in the fat that has soaked up all the flavours. Keep stirring for 2 minutes.
5. At this stage, add the canned tomatoes and about 750ml chicken stock to the pan. Increase the heat to high and bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Then, low it to simmer, and sprinkle the saffron. Add the browned chicken. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Check once in between. At any point if you think that the skillet doesn't have enough moisture, add more stock.
6. Add the browned sausage and prawns. Cook till the prawns become pink and their tails curl up. This should take 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle parsley. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes. Ensure that there is no more liquid in the pan. Serve immediately.
1. There is no point using skin-on chicken since the meat has to be cooked with the rice, not just fried. The result is going to be soggy skin.
2. If chicken is added on low heat, no matter the dish or recipe, its juices will run out and the meat will go dry.