Chez Chaz: no seafood paella

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Paella à la Bishop

This recipe was the last one I cooked for my friends at Chez Chaz in Paris and remains the favourite of many of the people I cooked for. It is actually based on my father’s recipe, from whom a lot of my food obsession originates. I by no means claim it is an authentic version, but what makes it different is that the chicken is roasted and the juices used to add a gelatinous meat flavour to the rice. 

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 8-10 chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin on and bone in
  • Pimentón (smoked paprika)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1  chorizo sausage, chopped into pieces
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 500g paella rice (arborio or carnaroli will do as well)
  • 1 can of beer or cider
  • 750ml (approx.) chicken stock
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • Handful green beans, halved
  • ½-1tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • To garnish: lemon wedges and parsley

Method

Turn the oven to 200c. Coat the chicken in a thin layer of olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and the smoked paprika. Spread on a roasting tray and leave to roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. 

While the chicken is cooking, on a medium heat in a wide pan sweat the onions until softened. Add the garlic and then the chopped chorizo and stir to allow its oils to be released before adding the tomato purée. Add the rice and mix well with the oils for 1-2 minutes before pouring in some of the beer or cider (beer gives a spicier flavour whereas cider is sweeter).You must continue to stir the paella, and as the liquid is absorbed by the rice gradually add more to it. Make sure not to turn the heat too high as this means the liquid just evaporates before it can be absorbed by the rice. Add the chopped beans and peppers and mix into the rice, followed by 2tsp smoked paprika and as much chilli powder as suits your spice tastes. Once the cider has run out, use the chicken stock as your liquid. The rice is cooked once it retains a little bite but is not too hard, and if poured onto a plate it slowly relaxes outwards. Just before the rice is finished, add some frozen peas and stir through.

Once the chicken has cooked through, take it out the oven and pour the cooking juices from the pan into the paella. Add the chicken pieces and garnish with parsley, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

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