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At Christmas time I purchased Dan a hamper full of Spanish delights, practically everything needed to create a delicious Paella. Since then we have delved into it for various dishes, but until now, we have never actually got round to making one. I really don’t know why we waited so long…it was delicious. I was always skeptical about recreating it at home, having eaten some wonderful ones while holidaying in Benicassim. However, I now want it to be a regular on the meal planner.

To make up the protein element Dan added two chicken thighs, squid (we opted for this against king prawns this time – have you seen the price of prawns recently?!) mussel meat and of course, lovely chunky chorizo. Alongside this, he roasted some red and orange bell peppers beforehand. All of this made for a highly pleasing plate.

To make this dish (serves two VERY generously) you will need:
– Two tablespoons of EV olive oil
– 250g of paella rice
– Two chicken thigh fillets (skinless/boneless)
– 200g of fresh prepared squid (thinly sliced)
– 650ml of chicken stock
– One red bell pepper (roasted, seeded and cut into strips)
– One orange bell pepper (roasted, seeded and cut into strips)
– One green pepper (seeded/chopped)
– 100g broad beans (we used frozen then thawed)
– Four tomatoes (seeded/chopped)
– Five cloves of garlic (chopped)
– One onion (chopped)
– 100g of chorizo (diced)
– One pack of fresh mussel meat
– One small bunch of parsley (chopped/stalks separated and finely chopped)
– Good pinch of smoked paprika
– Twelve strands of saffron
– Sprinkling of Paella seasoning
– Salt and black pepper

Method:
– Heat the oil in a large shallow pan/paella dish.
– Add the chorizo and chicken. Fry over a medium heat until the chicken is browned and the chorizo releases its oils.
– Add the onion, garlic, green pepper, parsley stalks, saffron and paella seasoning. Stir and fry gently for ten minutes. When vegetables have softened add the rice and roasted peppers. Stir well for two minutes, making sure the rice is well coated.
– Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Stir in the broad beans and tomatoes. At this stage you need to check that the pan isn’t drying out. If so, keep adding small amounts of water from the kettle.
– After five minutes, add the mussel meat and squid. Cook for a further five minutes until the squid is cooked.
– Remove from the heat. Cover the pan with a few sheets of newspaper and let it rest for two minutes.
– Garnish with the chopped parsley and a good pinch of paprika. Also, a drizzle of EV olive oil.
– Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread.

What a pleasure it was, to eat such a vibrant meal. I found the bright colours very inviting, and the mixture of flavours from the meat and seafood juices, for me, made every bite interesting. Now and then you also get a cheeky little spice hit from a piece of meaty chorizo. It’s highly satisfying and packed with tastes and textures that all marry together in perfect harmony. We finished it off with a good squeeze of lemon juice that only enhanced and freshened the whole plate. Wonderful.

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