If there’s one recipe to bring some Spanish sunshine onto the dinner table at any time of the year, it’s this one! Ok, so chicken and chorizo isn’t an authentic flavour for paella, but it’s a widely-known combination and I think it’s delicious. When I visited Barcelona a few years ago, I did manage to track down a chicken & chorizo paella in a tourist restaurant in the seaside neighbourhood of Barceloneta, so it’s not unheard of in Spain. There are a lot of ingredients here, but key to it is to prepare and chop all of the ingredients before you fire up the stove. If you follow this recipe to the letter then you’re guaranteed to be onto a winner! Make sure you use a wooden spoon because a metal one would break the rice apart and you’ll end up with a plate of sludge. Buen provecho!
Prep: 10-15 mins Cook: 35-40 mins Serves: 4
– 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into small pieces
– 1 chorizo ring (200-225g), sliced into 5mm rounds
– 400g paella rice
– Large pinch of saffron strands
– 1 red pepper, seeded & thinly sliced
– 1 onion, thinly sliced
– 2 cloves of garlic, grated
– 1 medium tomato, seeded & chopped
– 1 lemon, cut into quarters
– 2 handfuls of peas or petit pois
– 1.2 litres hot chicken stock made with 2 stock cubes
– heaped teaspoon sweet paprika
– Pinch of dried thyme
– Black pepper
– Light olive oil (EVOO has too much flavour)
1. Add the heaped teaspoon of paprika, a large pinch of black pepper, pinch of dried thyme and the grated garlic to the hot chicken stock in a mixing bowl. Set aside and allow to infuse.
2. Meanwhile, heat 6 tablespoons of light olive oil in a 32cm paella pan or large pan with high sides on a high heat on the largest hob ring, then add the diced chicken and move the pieces around with a wooden spoon until sealed on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped chorizo and move the pieces around often for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped onion and pepper, stirring everything around for a further 5 minutes, still on a high heat.
3. Add the paella rice with the large pinch of saffron strands and stir for a further minute to lightly toast each grain of rice. Add the stock mixture and give everything a stir for a few minutes, still on a high heat.
4. After you’ve given everything a good stir and the contents of the pan are evenly spread, reduce the heat to low and do not stir. I repeat, DO NOT STIR! If you continue to stir after this point, you’ll release too much of the starch in the rice and you’ll end up with a risotto. After 10 minutes on a low heat, scatter the two handfuls of peas evenly over the top and cover the pan with a lid or make one from a sheet of tinfoil.
5. On a low heat, leave to simmer for a further 15 minutes. Towards the final 5 minutes of cooking, have a listen to the pan. You should hear a dry sizzling, crackling sound. This indicates that a beautiful socarrat is being created. The socarrat is a layer of rice on the bottom of the pan that caramalises and toasts. This creates an incredible depth of flavour and requires a bit of trial and error to get it right. You basically need to hear the crackling sound for about 5 minutes prior to turning off the heat.
6. Switch off the heat, keeping the lid/tinfoil on, and allow it to cool for a no more than 5 minutes. Allowing it to cool will allow the pallet to better-appreciate the flavours of the dish.
7. Remove the lid, place the lemon segments around the outside and serve with a large plastic spoon. Be sure to scrape off that delicious socarrat and add a good squeeze of lemon. Perfect with an ice cold Estrella Damm lager 😉