Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Cheat's Paella

Stage 11

If my Spanish and Catalan friends ever find out I wrote this, I will probably be dead to them. In my defence, I love paella but making it on a budget is very difficult for two reasons:

  1. There are so many ingredients. Seriously. 
  2. In traditional paella, there are 3 'meats' - chicken, chorizo and prawns, none of which are particularly cheap.
When I first made this, I based my recipe off the Delia version, and made some changes. I've marked essential ingredients with a *. Feel free to swap/ compromise as you go.

2tbsp oil
*2 large/ 3 small chicken breasts or equivalent e.g. chicken thighs (you can get away with even less because there is so much other stuff in here), cut into chunks
*1 onion, chopped
*2 peppers (or 1), in chunks without seeds
*100g chorizo sausage (if you can, get the 200g cooking version for £2.00 and not the diced one which is also £2.00 but only 130g. Whatever you do, don't get the salami-style slices. I've also seen normal sausages with pork and chorizo which might work out cheaper too). Take off the ammonia-smelling skin, and slice into rounds which you can then quarter
*3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Spices: *2tsp paprika, 1/2tsp cayenne pepper, 0.2g saffron (NB: this is super-expensive and in my opinion, not worth adding. My mixture ended up being really yellow anyway, but if you wanted that colour you could add a couple of drops of yellow/ red food colouring instead!) 
*200g tomatoes, in chunks without seeds (I reckon you could substitute tinned tomatoes here. If you do, make sure to sieve them to remove the seeds - how-to video here)
*2 pints of boiling water
*300g risotto rice (there are fancy paella versions out there, but we only had arborio risotto rice and it still tasted good)
*2 handfuls of cooked prawns (I used small frozen ones because they were reduced to half price. Use bigger prawns for a treat. If you use raw ones (grey) then make sure to cook them properly first, in a separate pan)
*50g of frozen peas 
Splash of lemon juice

Serves 6 (or 5 greedy family members)

1) Prepare all the vegetables and meat first (this will take a while)
2) Heat the oil in an enormous pan
3) Fry the chicken pieces until they are properly cooked
4) Remove the chicken, then add the onion and fry for 4 mins on low heat
5) Next add the chopped peppers and chorizo and fry for 5 mins (put the kettle on for the boiling water)
6) Bung in the garlic and spices and cook for 1 min
7) Tip in all the tomatoes and the boiling water
8) Put the chicken back in
9) Simmer for 15 mins
10) Add the rice, and leave to simmer uncovered for 15 mins (stir it occasionally)
11) Add the prawns and the peas and cook for 5-10 mins (if prawns are frozen, err on the side of 10 mins)
12) Sprinkle the lemon juice over it and you're done - serve in the pan for minimal washing-up!

Oil = 4p
Chicken = £3
Onion = 8p
Pepper = 70p
Chorizo = £1
Garlic = 6p
Spices = 10p
Tomatoes = 80p
Rice = 66p
Prawns = £1
Peas = 10p
Total = £7.54, £1.26/ person