Recipe for homemade Paella with calamari, prawns and mussels

2 red bell peppers, blackened and peeled
olive oil
500 g thick pork rashers, smoked or unsmoked, cut into blocks
4 – 6 boned and skinned chicken thighs, cut into blocks
1 t (5 ml) Ina Paarman’s Chicken Spice
400g baby calamari rings
Ina Paarman’s Chilli & Garlic Seasoning
2 medium onions, finely chopped (use red onions if available)
1 t (5 ml) Ina Paarman’s Green Onion Seasoning
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 t (5 ml) paprika (plain, not smoked)
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled or 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 t (5 ml) sugar
500g short grain rice (lightly toasted if time permits)
5 cups (1.25 litres) boiling water
4 x 25g Ina Paarman’s Liquid Fish Stock
pinch of saffron (optional)
500 g closed black mussels or green lipped mussels on the half shell

Seafood topping:
200-250 g white fish e.g. monk fish or hake, skinned, boned and diced
1-2 t (5-10 ml) Ina Paarman’s Fish Spice
olive oil
10-12 prawns, remove vein, butterfly open and spread with toothpicks
Ina Paarman’s Chilli & Garlic Seasoning

Lemon and garlic topping:
4 T (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley
1 T (15 ml) grated lemon rind
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed

How to
Blacken the skins of the red peppers by turning them over an open gas flame (see video) or bake in a 200°C oven for ± 15 minutes. Don’t be concerned, the skin must be scorched very black. Cover and leave to sweat and cool. Remove skins and pips and cut into 2cm pieces.

Toss the pork rashers with olive oil. Toss the chicken cubes with Chicken Spice and olive oil. Leave to stand. Toss calamari with olive oil and season with Chilli and Garlic Seasoning. Preheat the paella pan (or wok or frying pan) until very hot. Add the oiled pork cubes and stir-fry, until lightly browned. Add the chicken and calamari and stir-fry until evenly seared on the outside. Spoon everything out of the pan and keep on one side.

Add another 2T of olive oil to the pan. Add the onions tossed with Green Onion Seasoning. Sauté for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic and paprika. Cook over gentle heat for about one minute.

Buzz the tomatoes in a blender until completely smooth. Add sugar. Add the tomato to the pan, together with the peppers. Boil open until the sauce is concentrated – about 10 minutes. Keep stirring every now and again.

Add the rice, return meat mixture to the pan and stir through. Add boiling water, Liquid Fish Stock and saffron. Simmer very slowly for ± 17 minutes (no lid). Add the mussels. Turn the heat off, cover the pan with a clean cloth and leave to stand so that the mussels can cook and the rice can absorb all the liquid ± 10 minutes.

This is not a cheap recipe, because seafood is expensive, but it certainly is much more affordable than a restaurant meal. Do not use Risotto rice, it is too creamy and results in a ‘mushy’ paella. Do not skimp on the olive oil and season in layers as we have done, for maximum flavour delivery.

By: Ina Paarman

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