Wednesday, 18 January 2012

'Paella-riffic' Seafood, Chorizo and Chicken Rice

Purists would balk at me calling this 'paella', so in the spirit of being agreeable, I won't. They are right of course - an authentic paella does not contain tomatoes, and has its golden colour bestowed on it by saffron - but this dish is delightful nonetheless. And because it doesn't contain saffron (more expensive per ounce than pure gold) you can spend more money where it counts, on seafood, chorizo and chicken, and still come in under budget.

With my version of this dish, it would be better for you not to use paella or risotto rice, because, in this recipe, I have taken out all of the stirring and stock stages necessary to achieve a creamy texture. Who has the time? Instead, use ordinary long grain rice and cook it using the absorption method. Quicker, easier, cheaper - and no less delicious. Who says you can't have it all?

Cost? On budget, at £3 per serving.

Serves 4


4 free range large chicken legs (not just drumsticks)
100g chorizo, sliced into 1cm rounds
25ml olive or sunflower oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into 2cm dice
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
200g long grain or basmati rice
Twice the volume of rice, of either chicken or vegetable stock
400g can of chopped plum tomatoes
100g frozen peas
375g cooked seafood cocktail (squid, prawns, mussels)
Pinches of salt and pepper
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a large pan or wok, fry the chicken on the skin side only, over a moderate heat until lightly browned and almost cooked through. Add the chorizo for a couple of minutes until crisp and then remove both chicken and chorizo from the pan and set aside. In the juices, add the pepper, onion and garlic and gently fry until translucent (5 minutes approx). Add the cayenne pepper, thyme and rice and stir until all grains are covered in the oil. Add the stock and tomatoes and cook, uncovered, until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, peas and seafood cocktail and fold through the rice until the peas are cooked and the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, arrange all components symetrically in the pan and sprinkle the parsley over the finished dish just before serving.

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