Classic spanish paella

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

A recipe from the Good Food collection.



12 black mussels, cleaned

125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) dry white wine

12 raw prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined (heads and shells reserved)

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) chicken stock

60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil

600 g (1 lb 5 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved

3 tomatoes

1 large red onion, chopped

1 red capsicum (pepper), cut into large cubes

1 green capsicum (pepper), cut into large cubes

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika

¼ teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) hot water

300 g (10½ oz/1⅓ cups) paella rice

300 g (10½ oz) firm white fish, such as snapper, cubed

150 g (5½ oz) peas

lemon wedges, to serve


1. Put the mussels in a saucepan with the wine, cover and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until they have opened. Lift the mussels out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and set them aside on a plate, discarding any that have not opened.

2. Put the prawn heads and shells in the pan with the mussel liquid, add 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl, then pour the liquid back into the pan and add the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and keep at a low simmer.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a paella pan or large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until browned all over, then remove from the pan.

4. To peel the tomatoes, score a cross in the base of each tomato. Put in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then transfer to cold water and peel the skin away from the cross. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Roughly chop the flesh.

5. Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the onion and tomato over low heat for 4–5 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the red and green capsicum and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the garlic, paprika and saffron with its soaking water, and cook for 30 seconds. Return the chicken to the pan, arranging it around the edge and stir to coat with the tomato mixture.

6. Pour in the stock and bring it to simmering point, then add the rice. Do not stir the rice, instead use the spatula to gently move it down into the liquid. Arrange the capsicum on top of the rice. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8–10 minutes, or until the rice is becoming tender. The paella should not be stirred after it has come to the boil.

7. Arrange the fish, mussels, prawns and peas evenly over the rice, taking care not to stir through to the bottom. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer without stirring for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the prawns and fish are cooked through. Shake the pan from time to time to prevent the rice from burning, but do not stir to the bottom. This will allow a crust to form across the bottom. Pour in a little hot water if the mixture seems dry towards the end of cooking. Remove the pan from the heat, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 5–10 minutes. Season and serve, straight from the pan, with lemon wedges.