Basic Paella Technique

Although there are many variations on the classic paella, these few tips will help you if you are about to have a go for the first time.

Although there are many variations on the classic paella, these few tips will help you if you are about to have a go for the first time. Start with an easy chicken paella and progress to seafood once you have mastered the basic technique.

Start by frying onion, garlic and diced tomato in plenty of olive oil in a paella pan, or large, flat base frying pan. Of course, you can leave the garlic out if you wish. The tomato helps add a good flavour base and rich colour.

In a separate pan or jug, prepare a simple stock for your paella. Either home-made chicken stock or good quality stock cubes can be used. Add a few strands of saffron and a sachet of Carmencita paella mix to get that authentic Spanish flavour. Add more paella colorant if you want a deeper yellow colour.

Once the onion is soft, add your basic ingredients, diced chicken, sliced green peppers, perhaps some green beans, peas and chorizo if you wish. Fry until the chicken is browned on the outside.

Next, add your paella rice - one cupful per person. Stir into the mix until the grains of rice are individually coated with olive oil.

At this point, add your stock. Start by adding enough to cover the rice plus about a finger's depth - you can add more later if required. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and reduce the heat so the pan simmers. From this point on, you should not stir the paella at all. If it looks like all the stock is going to boil off and the rice is still uncooked, add more stock bit by bit.

Once the rice is cooked, decorate with strips of roasted piquillo peppers.

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