Chicken Paella

Inspired by Barca and the paella pan we bought in La Boqueria for 5 Euros, we made the best paella I have ever eaten. The paella was symphony of texture and flavor. The paella rice was tender, but chewy and flavored with saffron, onion and chicken.

The best trick was turning up the heat on the paella for a minute after letting the oil settle to create the crispy bottom of the paella, the best part!

Adapted from Michael Batemen

Serves 2

  • 1 cup short-grain rice, Spanish bomba or Italian arborio
  • 2 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of peas to garnish
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • generous pinch of saffron (say 20 threads)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder

Using your widest frying pan, preferably 26cm (12in) across, heat the oil through over a medium heat, and add generous sprinkling of adobo. In separate pot, fry the chicken for about 10 minutes with the adobo and olive oil, stirring until brown on all sides. Deglaze pan with chicken stock.

In paella pan fry chopped onion and garlic. Sprinkle on the paprika powder and stir it in, heating through for 30 seconds or so (it must not burn). Pour in the chicken stock and bay leaf immediately and raise heat to full. As the stock comes to the boil, add the saffron. Make a note of the water level.

Toss in the rice in handfuls and boil rapidly for 10 minutes without stirring (once the rice is added, it is not stirred again). Add peas to top of pan, do not mix.Turn the heat to medium and cook for five to eight more minutes. Most of the liquid will be absorbed. Taste the rice; the grains should be soft but chewy at the center.

At this stage the rice shouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. So turn down to lowest heat, wait for one minute (so the oil settles), then turn it up to full and the oil will fry the sticky rice at the bottom. Using a wooden spoon to test, prod the rice on the base of the pan until you feel it beginning to stick (a minute or so). Then turn off heat immediately. Remove paella to a warm place.

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