This dish has always scared me a bit – the mussel shells and saffron rice looked so intimidating, but the other night Per found some frozen seafood we had leftover from a party, and rustled up a Paella which, I have to say, was better than the one we ate in Spain (and my friend Alison agreed, so it must be true). Actually, using frozen prawns worked just as well, and aside from the seafood, the stuff you need is really pretty basic. And even though you can pull this cheat version off in 20 minutes flat, it’s fancy enough to serve to guests and look like you’re pretty accomplished. And we like dishes like that. If you have a big wok, make it and serve it in that. Otherwise, a large frying pan or any shallow-ish pot will do.
Frozen prawns and mussels
Two chicken breasts
A chorizo sausage (optional)
Two cloves of garlic
A tablespoon of dried paprika
Saffron or turmeric
A red or green pepper or frozen peas or both
Chop your onion, garlic, red or green pepper and carrot and fry it up in a bit of oil. If you have saffron, add a pinch, otherwise a teaspoon of turmeric works just as well. Sprinkle in your paprika. Add your chicken breasts chopped into bit-sized pieces and if you want to include Chorizo, chop it up and put that in now. Fry the meat up a bit so everything browns a little. Add a cup of rice, fry it up and bit, and then whack in two cups of chicken stock. Put the lid on, turn the heat down and leave it till nearly all the water’s been absorbed. Add your frozen seafood and peas, a sprinkle of salt and black pepper and put the lid back on for ten minutes or so, till the rest of the water disappears. And that’s it! Serve with lemon wedges, crusty bread and a bottle of bubbly. It’s a party in a pot.