Paellas are incredible. Dad Recipe paellas even moreso. You can’t not like a paella. It’s impossible.
To me, the paella doesn’t need to have rules. It doesn’t need to have seafood in it. You can through anything* you have to hand in it, and it’s still a paella.
The bare bones of Dad Recipe paella are – paella rice, stock, onion, smoked paprika and either saffron or turmeric. This is the base, and you can add whatever suits your tastes on top of this. Consider seafood / prawns, fish, chicken, peppers, tomato, peas, broccoli, diced spiced meat (especially chorizo). It’s like a pizza – add whatever you like. No two paella need ever be the same.
I’ll be serving this with crusty bread and white wine.
Dad Recipe Paella (serves two)
150g paella rice
1/3 (50g) yellow pepper (diced)
1/3 (50g) red pepper (diced)
8 Asparagus tips
½ brown onion (diced)
1 teaspoon tomato puree
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
180g fresh raw prawns
1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of frozen peas
Three strands of saffron
1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
Pinch dried chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Splash white wine
beer (for the chef)
Pour the beer. There’s a widely accepted rule about what homebrewers do when they make their beer. They drink homebrew beer. Dad recipes are the same. There will be times when having a beer while cooking isn’t possible and that’s fine. It’s just better when you do. For this recipe, I had a bottle of Fyne Ale’s Avalanche. Delicious.
Make up the stock. I used one Knorr vegetarian stock pot to make 500ml. Once you’ve made the stock, add the saffron strands to it.
Pat the prawns dry with kitchen roll. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle a little smoked paprika and turmeric on them. Mix it all up then stick it in the fridge.
Heat the oil in the wide, shallow pan at a moderate heat. A frying pan will do fine – non-stick is better. One of the problems I had to overcome in cooking was learning not to cook everything at such a high temperature. Heating the oil for a minute or so until adding a bit of onion makes it sizzle a little is enough. Add the onion to the oil, stirring it occasionally. Enjoy the smell of the cooking onion. Let it soften for five minutes.
After five minutes, add the garlic and the peppers. Cook for another two minutes.
Add the rice, paprika, chili flakes, turmeric and a splash of wine. Stir the rice and you’ll see it begins to go a little clear. Cooking for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomato puree and the stock. Mix it all up carefully. Let it gently bubble for around 15 minutes. Taste it throughout and season accordingly.
Add the asparagus, prawns and frozen peas. Mix up and cover the pan. A big lid will do. If you don’t have one, cover with tin foil. Leave for three minutes. Stir then leave for another two minutes.
Serve! If you’re feeling classy, sprinkle some chopped up flat leaf parsley on the paella. Your beer should be gone by now, so have some wine. I recommend buttered tiger bread as an accompaniment.
Bloopers & Extras
Things didn’t run perfectly smoothly when I was making this. Eagle-eyed people may spot that the chopped onions above are actually white onion & brown onion. I’d intended to use both but, as I started frying, a bulb exploded and landed next to the pan. I had to start again, and chop more onions. I was in tears. 😉
You’ll also spot a tomato in the pics above but I decided not to use it, substituting tomato puree. Some receipes use tins of chopped tomatoes. Again, there are no rules as such, but I’d use a little less stock if you’re going to be adding loads of tomato juice.
For wine, I used Canto Real Verdejo 2014 from Rueda, Spain and bottled for Morrissons.
If you’re not familiar with asparagus, be prepared for the harmless side-effects.
If I was to make this again, I’d add more in the way of seafood. Adding chopped up cod or basa fillet and adding it towards the end of the 15 minute boil would be nice. If you were going to add chorizo, add it with the peppers.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
*Don’t be silly.