Spain holds some magical force over me. The language, the food, the wines, the Moorish history and the civil war (ok so I’m a bloke!). It all adds up to my favourite country. I have fond memories of a week long camping trip on a beach just outside of San Fernando near Cadiz. Antonia’s mum was great, she showed me the basics of a good Paella – you use what you have!
Paella is often about the pan you cook it in!
2 chicken breasts (free range is always best, but if the Spa don’t got it!)
1 large red onion
1 red pepper (or green, or yellow – es egual!)
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/4 dried chilli finely chopped
Large knob of butter
8oz Bomba or Calasparra paella rice
500 ml of vegetable stock
Fresh milled pepper and salt for seasoning
Half a glass of manzanilla sherry or very dry white wine
1 tsp paprika (smoked if you got it but don’t worry)
3 or 4 large flat mushrooms
salt & fresh ground black pepper
Boil a kettle of water for the vegetable stock. Finely chop the onion and simmer gently for four or five minutes in a glug of olive oil in a high-sided frying pan. Halve, de-seed and slice the pepper. When the onion begins to soften and colour, throw in the chopped garlic, chilli and sliced pepper. Simmer for a further three or four minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic. While that is simmering chop the mushrooms to 2 cm chunks. Melt the knob of butter in the pan and throw in the mushrooms, simmering for a further 5 minutes – the mushrooms will start to wilt in the pan an give off some of their lovely dark brown colour. Cut the chicken into 2 cm chunks and add to the pan, making sure the chicken seals on all sides. Then add the teaspoon of smoked paprika and a good grind of black pepper, together with a pinch of salt.
Add the rice to the pan and stir well ensuring the rice is well coated. Add the half glass of wine/manzanilla and stir. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Turn to a gentle simmer for twenty minutes or so, or until the rice has absorbed all of the stock.