Updated: Dec 28, 2021
Prep Time 10 minutes - Total Time 1 hour - Serves 5
When you are talking about Spain and it’s food it’s impossible not to mention paella. A dish that originated from Valencia from humble beginnings. It was first made by farms in the rice fields for lunch and it would be cooked over an open fire. Farms would use whatever they had to hand. Normally that would comprise of snails, onions, tomatoes and beans.
As the dish spread across Spain people would adapt the recipe using the ingredients that that region had to offer. So if you happen to be on the coasts you would get seafood paella or if you were in the mountains you would get rabbit or chicken. The dish very quickly made its way around the world.
(You will also find this recipe on page 24 of my book Richard’s Family Favourites click here)
1 kg chicken thighs, skin on bone-in.
180 g runner beans, sliced into 1-inch pieces.
2 medium white onions, diced.
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary.
4 ￼tomatoes￼, ￼grated (discarding the skin).
2 garlic cloves, grated.
2 tbsps of pimenton dulce (sweet pimenton) or smoked paprika.
Pinch of saffron.
400 g paella rice, I use bomba rice.￼￼￼￼
1.3 litre chicken stock.
In your paella pan add a good drizzle of olive oil along with a large pinch of salt. Fry the chicken skin face down over a high heat till a nice dark golden colour then cook on the other side for a couple more minutes. Remove from the pan and place to one side.
Add the onions and beans to the pan and fry over a high - medium heat for around 10 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and garlic, mix together and cook out for another couple of minutes.
Now add the pimenton or paprika, give it all a good mix and fry for another minute. Return the chicken to the pan skin face up, add the rosemary in and around the chicken. Now add the stock along with the saffron and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Take the chicken out, pour the rice in evenly and give everything a good stir, don’t stir again after this point. Pop the chicken back in the pan and cook over a high heat for 15 minutes. Then reduce to a low heat and continue cooking till the stock is lower than the rice and the rice is cooked. Depending on the type of rice you use you may need to add a little water. Once the rice is done I turn the heat up to high again and cook for another minute. This will help to create a crust on the bottom of the paella, known as ‘Socarrat’. A sign of a good paella is a crispy bottom.
Once the paella is done, turn off the heat and leave it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Then take to the middle of the table for everyone to tuke in. Make sure you have lots of crispy bread, lemons to squeeze over the rice and some aioli.