Prawn & Mussel Paella

img

By Team Studio Kitchen

Paella is Valencia's regional specialty, said to have originated in the countryside among Spanish farm workers who cooked their lunch on large, flat pans in the fields. Using rice as the base, they combined readily available ingredients such as snails, vegetables, and rabbit, although all sorts of ingredients can be substituted. Seafood is a popular choice.

There are a few important points to consider before you cook your first paella: the rice, the pan, the "sofrito", and the "socarrat" are all critical if you wish to be a paella master.

Calasparra rice is the type I use and would recommend when making this dish. It is a centuries-old strain grown in the mountains of Murcia in Spain. It matures more slowly than other varieties and produces rice kernels which are more dehydrated and therefore ready to absorb all the wonderful flavours of paella. You should be able to find Calasparra in any good Spanish deli or specialty store; otherwise substitute with Arborio rice.

A true paella pan or paellera, from which the dish is named, is wide, round and shallow and made of very thin metal, usually plain or enamelled steel. The shape of the pan ensures the rice cooks in a thin layer. Diameters can vary - the bigger the pan, the more people you can feed. The key here is to maximise the amount of rice touching the bottom of the pan, where all the flavour is.

The sauté of vegetables and aromatics, called the sofrito *, provides the flavour base.

The components of the sofrito may vary by region but in my recipe I use onion, garlic and fennel seeds. The technique is simple: sauté the vegetables over a gentle heat until they soften completely and the flavours meld.

The socarrat refers to the caramelised crust of rice that sticks to the bottom of the pan and is thought to be the prize of any well-made paella. To achieve it, increase the heat at the end of cooking for one or two minutes, just until the rice starts to catch on the bottom and smells toasty. Take care not to burn it. The real secret to a great paella is patience.

Allow it to rest off the heat for five minutes covered with foil. Just long enough to open a bottle of crisp wine, whip up a simple salad and cut some lemon wedges.

For me, paella is one of the most wonderfully soul-satisfying rice dishes and it passes all my entertaining criteria: it's easy to make, delicious to eat and leaves next to no washing up.

Time

1

hour

0

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Medium

Save

0

Portions

6
servings

Share Recipe

img

Ingredients

Servings

metric
Template is not defined.
12 green king prawns, peeled, (leaving the tail tip on), deveined
1 kg live mussels
 q.s. olive oil
2 red onion, finely diced
1 yellow capsicum, roasted and peeled (or substitute with half small jar of piquillo pepper)
1 red capsicum, roasted and peeled (or substitute with half small jar of piquillo pepper)
1 large hot chorizo sausage, peeled and sliced
1 large clove of garlic finely chopped or microplaned
1tsp fennel seed, crushed
 pinch saffron threads
1tsp sweet smoked paprika
800 ml chicken stock
80 ml white wine
250g paella rice
 q.s. salt flakes
 q.s. freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls flat leaf parsley chopped
2 lemons cut into wedges
 q.s. garlic aioli

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

 34cm paella pan
1

 

2

 

3

To prepare the mussels… scrub the outer shell of the mussels to remove any slime and barnacles. Heat a heavy based pot with a lid. Throw in the mussels and steam them open. They’ll only take a couple of minutes. Tip the mussels into a colander with bowl underneath to catch the mussel juice. When the mussels are cool enough to handle remove the beard from the mussel and discard the shells. Strain the mussel juice through a fine strainer and add the cleaned mussels to the liquid and keep refrigerated until required.

 

4

 

5

To start… place the paella pan over a medium high heat and add the sausage. The sausage will release some of its own oil and colour. Fry the chorizo for a few minutes until coloured on both sides and remove from the pan.

 

6

Add the prawns… and fry briefly, but do not cook all the way through. Remove the prawns and set aside.

 

7

Start the sofrito*… Add a little olive oil to the pan and add the onions and a good pinch of salt flakes. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until completely soft, stirring frequently.

 

8

In a saucepan… bring the chicken stock and the saffron to the boil.

 

 

9

Add the garlic… and crushed fennel seeds to the sofrito and cook gently for a couple of minutes more.

 

10

Add the rice… to the pan and mix well. Increase the heat and add the white wine and stir until the liquid has evaporated.

 

11

Add the saffron stock… to the pan, add the smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper. From this point on, no longer stir the rice, just gently shake the pan from time to time to stop the rice from catching too soon.

 

12

Turn the heat down... to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 -20 minutes. Cut the peppers into chunks and then add to the pan along with the sausage and prawns and cook until the liquid has evaporated, and the rice is almost cooked, another couple of minutes or so.

 

 

13

Check the seasoning... and scatter the mussels over the pan and press gently into the rice. Turn up the heat for a couple of minutes to heat the mussels through and finish developing the socarrat before removing from the heat.

 

 

14

Cover the pan… tightly will foil and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

 

15

To serve… sprinkle with lots of freshly chopped parsley, lemon wedges and aioli.

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes
2
0 hours 0 minutes
3
0 hours 0 minutes

To prepare the mussels… scrub the outer shell of the mussels to remove any slime and barnacles. Heat a heavy based pot with a lid. Throw in the mussels and steam them open. They’ll only take a couple of minutes. Tip the mussels into a colander with bowl underneath to catch the mussel juice. When the mussels are cool enough to handle remove the beard from the mussel and discard the shells. Strain the mussel juice through a fine strainer and add the cleaned mussels to the liquid and keep refrigerated until required.

4
0 hours 0 minutes
5
0 hours 0 minutes

To start… place the paella pan over a medium high heat and add the sausage. The sausage will release some of its own oil and colour. Fry the chorizo for a few minutes until coloured on both sides and remove from the pan.

6
0 hours 0 minutes

Add the prawns… and fry briefly, but do not cook all the way through. Remove the prawns and set aside.

7
0 hours 0 minutes

Start the sofrito*… Add a little olive oil to the pan and add the onions and a good pinch of salt flakes. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until completely soft, stirring frequently.

8
0 hours 0 minutes

In a saucepan… bring the chicken stock and the saffron to the boil.

 

9
0 hours 0 minutes

Add the garlic… and crushed fennel seeds to the sofrito and cook gently for a couple of minutes more.

10
0 hours 0 minutes

Add the rice… to the pan and mix well. Increase the heat and add the white wine and stir until the liquid has evaporated.

11
0 hours 0 minutes

Add the saffron stock… to the pan, add the smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper. From this point on, no longer stir the rice, just gently shake the pan from time to time to stop the rice from catching too soon.

12
0 hours 0 minutes

Turn the heat down... to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 -20 minutes. Cut the peppers into chunks and then add to the pan along with the sausage and prawns and cook until the liquid has evaporated, and the rice is almost cooked, another couple of minutes or so.

 

13
0 hours 0 minutes

Check the seasoning... and scatter the mussels over the pan and press gently into the rice. Turn up the heat for a couple of minutes to heat the mussels through and finish developing the socarrat before removing from the heat.

 

14
0 hours 0 minutes

Cover the pan… tightly will foil and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

15
0 hours 0 minutes

To serve… sprinkle with lots of freshly chopped parsley, lemon wedges and aioli.

Recipe Tags chorizo, mussels, prawn, rice, saffron