I haven’t posted anything in forever! I’m genuinely in cooking withdrawal here, the other day I had a Sainsbury’s ready meal 😦 Masters degree life is HARD. I’m generally doing a 9-5 but I think most students will agree that university never seems to stick to a routine. I’ll aim for leaving at 5, but a seminar or fitness class will run from 6 so I’ll stay, maybe hit the SU bar afterwards and bam, it’s 9.30pm and I haven’t eaten. So not many recipes have been attempted, let alone recorded.
But today I stayed home, wrote code and cooked hearty, wholesome paella but a bit different from that you’ll find in Madrid or Barcelona. Having stared at a screen all day I needed some goodness and nutrition, so here is my recipe for a ‘superfood paella’! I’m not often one for superfoods or other fads, but I can definitely agree that a combination of spinach, garlic, olives, skinless chicken and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds provides a good dose of Vitamins E and K, omega-3, mono-unsaturated fats and lean protein – Yum!
But I have tried to stick to the authentic Valenciana method taken from the receta paella valenciana website. The specific stages ensure maximum flavour remains within the pan, seeing into the simple ingredients while the rice softens. Arguably though the most important rule is don’t touch the rice. My sSpanish friend swears by this for the perfect rich, comforting consistency.
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- handful of shredded coriander
- 1 red onion
- 1 large tomato
- 15 g fresh rosemary
- 150g frozen spinach
- 4 skinless chicken thighs
- 150g large frozen prawns
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 pepper/capsicum
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 750ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 300 g paella rice
- 1 lemon
First, prepare the meat and vegetables, take out the prawns and set them aside. I cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, the peppers and onion into thin strips and defrosted my frozen spinach. Preheat a large, flat bottom pan (it’s just not the same in my wok) with a good glug of olive oil.
Start by frying off the chicken in the centre of the pan. Once no longer pink in the middle, push to the edge and fry off the onion and red pepper until softened. Last add the other ingredients; the prawns, spinach, fresh rosemary, paprika, garlic, a sprinkle of sea salt and plenty of black pepper with half the coriander. Stir well – this provides the key base flavour for your paella.
Still on a high heat, add half of the stock to the hot pan and simmer for a few minutes. Next, add the paella rice and spread throughout the pan before adding the other half of the stock. Taste at this point and add any extra paprika, chilli powder, salt, pepper or herbs you prefer. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave alone to gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once the rice is cooked through, garnish with the rest of the coriander and a squeeze of lemon.
I love this as leftovers – the flavours seem to sink into the rice over night, served with extra herbs and buttered crusty bread.