Easy Midweek Paella

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A great storecupboard supper that’s ideal for the winter months. Although, having said that, I have made this in the summer and I enjoyed it then too.

This is one of those recipes that is easily adaptable to whatever you got in the fridge. I once made this using skinned Cumberland pork sausages, sliced chorizo and chunks of chicken thigh, and very good it was too. I have even eaten a version made with ready cooked lobster, smoked sausage and mussels.

I got the recipe for this from my cousin Richard’s fiancee, Claire, who is a lovely girl and a generous cook, which is the best kind of cook in my opinion.

My brother, Lee, is going to see if he can adapt this into a vegetarian option for his wife, Bev. If he does, and it’s successful, I will share it with you.

Easy Midweek Paella – serves 4-6 – adapted from a Good Housekeeping recipe

This dish is not a traditional paella, so, sorry if you’re a Spaniard. But it is great for a last minute dinner, so if you find you have invited a few work friends for supper on the spur of the moment, and you’ve suddenly remembered you have nothing in the pantry except a jar of pasta sauce or a jar of passata, a bag of easy-cook rice, jars of spices and a box of chicken stock cubes, have no fear; just pop down the supermarket, buy some chicken and chorizo, some prawns, and an onion and a pepper, and you’ve got supper.

All you need to go with this is a nice glass of something cold.

To begin with, you brown off 6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs and about 2-3 small chorizo, chopped, in a little sunflower oil over a low heat. After the meat has browned (about 15 minutes at the most) remove to a plate using a slotted spoon.

Into the pan you add a chopped onion, a red pepper cut into strips, and a handful of mushrooms sliced, and you cook these until soft but not browned, (about fifteen minutes at least).

After the vegatables are cooked, add the meat again, plus 375g/11oz easy-cook rice, a 350ml jar of tomato pasta sauce (I use Waitrose’s own tomato and basil sauce), and 900ml chicken stock mixed with 1/2 tsp turmeric, using some of the stock to rinse out the jar as well, and give this a good stir. You then cover the pan with a lid, bring to a simmer and cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring it now and then, you don’t want this to catch on the bottom.

When there’s still a little bit of liquid left in the pan, stir in a small packet of prawns; if using raw prawns, leave for about eight to ten minutes to turn from grey to pink, or, if using already cooked prawns, just leave for five to warm through.

Serve the paella in warmed bowls and if you want to you can scatter a little chopped parsley over the top.

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