Paella with chicken

Chicken and vegetable paella.
Chicken and vegetable paella. Photo: Marina Oliphant

This is based on Valencian paella but has been modernised by the omission of snails and wild rabbit. A true Valencian paella would never use chorizo - I have included it because it's quite delicious! You can prepare the sofrito up to a day ahead.


7 tbsp olive oil

2 chicken thigh fillets, cut in large pieces

⅓ dried chorizo sausage, sliced (check gluten-free if required)

salt and pepper

For the sofrito

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ each red and green capsicum, diced

2 tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped

½ cup water

For the paella

¼ tsp saffron

2 tbsp warm water

2 tsp sweet paprika

1 litre water or chicken stock

150g flat green beans, sliced

1 sprig rosemary

400g rice

2 lemons, cut into wedges

2 tbsp chopped parsley


Heat the paella pan then add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the chicken and chorizo. Season well with salt and pepper and cook until quite brown all over. Remove the chicken and chorizo to a bowl.

For the sofrito

Add the rest of the oil to the same pan and, when hot, add the onion. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onion has softened and is golden.

Now add the garlic, cook for a few minutes then add the capsicum and cook for a further 5 minutes until lightly coloured and softened.

Now add the tomatoes, season liberally with salt and pepper and cook slowly until the sofrito has reduced and there is no liquid left. Add about ½ cup of water and continue to cook until the liquid has again reduced. This should all take about 45 mins and can be done ahead of time. The sofrito should have a concentrated flavour and pulpy consistency.

For the paella

While the sofrito is cooking, gently heat the saffron in a small pan for a few minutes, until it changes colour and becomes fragrant. Be careful as it burns easily. Remove from the heat, crush with the back of a spoon and add to 2 tablespoons of warm water. Add the chicken, chorizo and paprika to the finished sofrito and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.

Add the water or stock, the beans and rosemary and bring to the boil. Taste the mixture. It should be very tasty – if not, add salt. Now add the saffron and liquid and the rice and bring to the boil. Stir briefly then turn to a low heat. Do not stir any more. Cook the paella for 15-18 minutes or until the rice is plump and almost soft; it should be a little resilient. Now turn the heat to high and cook for a couple of minutes. Any remaining liquid will boil away and a crust will form on the bottom of the pan.

Remove from the heat and cover with a tea-towel for 10 mins, then remove the tea-towel and allow to rest for another 5-10 mins before serving. Squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve directly from the pan.