We just celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary last weekend. It amazes many people, but the H and I have actually been together for 22 years. Definitely something to give thanks for. But of course I was practically a child bride.
We were having a quiet dinner out without the kids. I had just popped a most luscious piece of otoro sushi into my mouth when the kids called in a panic to say the neighbour’s house was on fire. So while they were being evacuated by firemen, we thanked our sushi chef and explained that we had to go. Thank God everyone was safe and the fire was contained. I didn’t get to taste much of that otoro, but a most memorable dinner date it turned out to be.
Anyway, the H loves paella, so yesterday I decided to give it a go. Call me old fashioned, but I like the idea of cooking for my man. Actually, that’s what started me cooking in the first place. But that’s another story for another time.
Now, I decided on Seafood Paella, so off I went in the afternoon to pick up some mussels, squid and tiger prawns. And while I was at the supermarket, I decided to throw in some chorizo as well. I couldn’t find any paella rice, so I just got some medium-grain rice.
The rice took a lot longer to cook than I’d expected. In fact, halfway through, I actually wondered if it would ever get cooked. But the family survived the wait, it turned out pretty good and people were happy. Kind of scraping the bottom of the pan at the end of it. Not bad for a first try at all. So although I’d been a little moody all day because I missed my Saturday morning run, it made me feel a little better.
Here’s my recipe, which I hope you’ll like. I didn’t use any chilli or anything spicy (other than the chorizo).
2 cups paella rice or medium-grain rice
6 tbs Olive Oil
2 whole garlic, chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced
2 cups prawn stock
2 cups chicken stock plus more to add as necessary
1 or 2 spicy chorizo
A dozen mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
8-10 tiger prawns, shells on
2 large squid, sliced into rings
1 tsp saffron threads, soaked in a little water
Heat olive oil in pan. Remove skins from chorizo, and break up into balls then cook over medium-high heat. (Alternatively, you could just saute them till half-cooked, slice them with skin on, then return to pan to cook till nicely browned). Remove from pan.
Saute squid till just cooked and remove from pan.
Saute garlic, onion and tomatoes until softened and add the saffron with the soaking water. Continue to cook until all the veggies are mushy.
Add 2 cups prawn stock and 2 cups chicken stock, bring to boil, season with salt and pepper, then add the rice and simmer till cooked. Add stock if it turns dry before the rice is cooked. (I covered the pan only after half an hour, so it took more than an hour for the rice to cook).
When rice is almost cooked, arrange the squid, prawns and bell peppers on top of the rice, and cover. (I actually roasted the bell peppers beforehand, and tossed it in after the rice was cooked – you could do this if you don’t mind having to roast them).
In a separate pot, steam the mussels till they open (discard those which don’t).
Once everything in the pan is cooked (I had to turn the prawns over once), place the mussels on top of it, and serve.