I love paella. I have very happy memories of it from Spanish holidays and restaurants, but I have always really wanted to make a version of it at home. The trouble is, it’s not a particularly easy peasy recipe. There are usually a lot of ingredients and steps and special pans involved and some of the recipes I’ve looked at seem to take forever! Really not my kind of recipe. So I decided to work on the recipes I had, to make a paella that was much easier and quicker to make and didn’t involve lots of pans (it’s usually me who does the washing up in our house so this is important to me!)
The result is a simple one pot meal that is ready in less than 45 minutes but which tastes of all the flavours of a traditional paella. To make things simple, I have chosen to use prawns which just take a few minutes cooking at the end, but if you would prefer a meaty paella just add in some cooked chicken and/or chorizo at the end. And obviously if you prefer a vegetarian paella just leave out the prawns and use vegetable stock instead. Incidentally, this is a great dish to do if you are cooking for a mixture of vegetarians and non-vegetarians (the kind that get grumpy if there’s no meat or fish in the meal). Make the paella using vegetable stock and don’t put the prawns in at step 4. Take the veggie portions out and then thrown in the prawns and/or whatever cooked meat you like. Cook until the prawns are done and the meat is piping hot and then serve the non-vegetarians.
I do think it is important to use paella rice in this recipe – it’s pretty easy to get hold of in the supermarket and is fairly cheap. I used Tesco Ingredients Spanish Paella Rice. Strictly speaking a paella is not supposed to be stirred, but I can’t quite cope with the idea of burnt on rice (there’s me thinking of the washing up again), but do keep stirring to a minimum or you will end up with more of a risotto than a paella (though at least the washing up will be easy!)
This recipe will serve 2, but is really easily multiplied if you are cooking for more. A word of warning though: if you are cooking this for lots of people you will need a very big pan!
I like to serve my paella with a glass of Spanish Garnacha rosé and some crusty bread.
Easy Peasy Prawn Paella
- 800 ml chicken stock from cubes is fine, I use 2 Kallo organic chicken stock cubes
- Pinch of saffron
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed or finely chopped
- 2 medium sized tomatoes finely chopped
- 200 g paella rice
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes or to taste
- 50 g green beans trimmed and cut in half
- 50 g frozen peas
- 250 g frozen uncooked prawns defrosted
- Juice of half a lemon the other half cut into wedges for serving
- 1 tablespoon parsley plus extra for garnish
- First make up your stock using 1 chicken stock cube and 800ml boiling water. Add a pinch of saffron to the stock and stir.
- Put a drizzle of olive oil in a wide, deep sauce pan and add the sliced onions and peppers. Cook on a low heat with the lid on for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not brown.
- Add the chopped garlic and tomatoes and cook for another minute with the lid off, stirring occasionally.
- Add the paprika and chilli flakes. Stir and cook for another minute.
- Add the rice, stir everything together and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil. Give everything one last stir and cook for 20 minutes on a low heat, with the lid off, avoiding stirring as best you can!
- After 20 minutes add the green beans, prawns and peas. Give everything a quick stir and cook for 5 minutes, until the prawns are pink and cooked through.
- Add the lemon juice and parsley. Stir one last time and serve garnished with more parsley and lemon wedges.