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For a number of years I’ve been working toward mastering PAELLA and I’ve come to appreciate that mastery is all about the technique! Amazing paella is about cooking each individual ingredient in a way that allows the natural textures and flavours too shine.

Last Sunday I cooked a jumbo paella for 20 friends and family and it was sensational! Here is an adapted recipe that serves 6-8 people. Simple, delicious and soul pleasing!

100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion diced
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1tlb thyme leaves
Paella spice mix – ¾ tsp each of mild, sweet and smoked paprika, a pinch of saffron threads
1 red capsicum, deseeded and diced
1 cup sofrito (slow cooked tomato sauce consisting of onions, garlic, tomatoes, salt and a liberal amount of olive oil)
1 fresh chorizo, sliced
500g firm fleshed white fish, chopped into large chunks
500g mussles and or cockles, scrubbed, cleaned, debearded
1 raw crab, broken up into pieces
1 squid, sliced
2 cups paella rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water

In a 45cm paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Next, add the garlic, chilli and thyme, stir and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant.
Add the paella spice mix, stir continuously and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Next, add the capsicum and chorizo, and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the sofrito, stir well to combine with the other ingredients and leave it to bubble for 5 minutes.
Next, add the seafood and combine with the other ingredients so that each piece is well coated with the sofrito. Sprinkle the rice around the pan then pour in the wine and wait until the rice absorbs it. Pour in the stock and water, season with salt. Check that the rice is evenly distributed and that the grains are below the surface of the liquid. Do not stir again.
Cook uncovered until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and the rice grains are tender – 15-20 minutes. If the rice is still not cooked then add a little water – tablespoons at a time and cook for a few more minutes. Remove the paella from the heat, cover with paper towels, then rest for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley, then carry the paella to the table and serve from the pan. Share and enjoy with lemon wedges, aioli and a crisp green salad dressed in olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt.