• 5 boned chicken thighs
  • 1 spanish onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 100g chorizo
  • 90g panceta
  • 700ml chicken stock
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1/2 tsp dried chillis
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 120g peas
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 40 clams
  • Dozen mussels
  • 8 squid rings
  • 8 king prawns
  • 500g paella rice
  • 2 pinches of saffron

Highly Controversial Paella

In our research into how to make a paella, we discovered there are some fairly strong views on what should and shouldn’t go into it. The issue of “chorizo” is perhaps the most controversial of all ingredients. Should it be in paella? According to the traditionalists (i.e. the Spanish), definitely not. It’s a complete no-no! Don’t do it. Just don’t.

So to start with we went to the supermarket and bought some chorizo. Oh yes, and some seafood, some rice, and about 15 other ingredients. But mainly chorizo.

We made up our own recipe based on a couple of “naughty” ones that both include chorizo. One by Jamie Oliver, and one by Antony Worrall Thompson. They may be famous chefs in the UK, but they are also clearly very, very naughty.

How we did it:

  • First of all, just to be clear, we were in Spain on holiday when we made this dish, and due to our “chorizo ingredient” we decided to keep it quiet. Which was quite convenient as we don’t speak Spanish very well.
  • We selected some onions and parsley from the garden. The original recipe states “Spanish Onions” as one of the ingredients. We were not sure exactly what “Spanish Onions” were. However, as we were picking onions from a garden in Spain we surmised that by definition they must be Spanish Onions. No?
  • We fried the chicken thighs until browned and then baked them in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, we removed the paella pan hanging on a hook on the wall in the living room (we were renting the house) and heated it with some olive oil. It seemed to heat up OK – which was a relief, because for a brief moment we thought it may be an “ornamental” paella pan.
  • The local gardener popped around at this point. We hid the chorizo and had a quick chat (with very basic Spanish). On a completely different subject we discovered from him that “los conejos” (the fluffy white rabbits that Jess and Annie had fallen in love with) in the garden were destined for “el horno” (the oven). They never found out.
  • Once he’d gone we retrieved the chorizo from under the bed and sliced it – and the pancetta – and fried it until nicely browned.
  • We added the onion and garlic (all finely chopped) and cooked until soft.
  • We infused half of the chicken stock with the saffron and added this and the paprika and rice to cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes or so.
  • We then added all of the seafood, the peas and the rest of the stock and placed a lid on it and cooked it for 10 more minutes.
  • We chopped the chicken thighs and added this and stirred in for a couple of minutes. We sprinkled with Parsley.

What we thought of it:

It was very tasty, although we felt guilty just looking at the slices of chorizo nestled within the rice. We whispered to each other that “the chorizo actually seems to add something to the dish”. We then left the country in a hurry.