The ultimate summer party food is elevated to glorious new levels when done on the barbecue, says Ben Tish from the critically acclaimed Ember Yard restaurant in London’s Soho. The added elements of flame and smoke make this paella highly visual, mouth-wateringly delicious and everyone can serve themselves. Perfection.
Ingredients (serves about 6)
You’ll also need a paella pan or large ovenproof frying pan and some oak, apple or birch wood chips.
✻ olive oil, for cooking
✻ 250g (9oz) spicy cooking chorizo, skin removed, roughly chopped
✻ 2 large chicken thighs or rabbit legs, boned, cut into bite-size pieces
✻ 1 large onion, finely chopped
✻ 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
✻ 2 small red (bell) peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
✻ 1 chilli, finely chopped
✻ 1tbsp smoked paprika
✻ 500g (18oz) paella [ie Bomba] or Calasparra short-grain rice
✻ 1tsp saffron threads, infused in 1tsp warm water
✻ sea salt and black pepper
✻ 200ml (generous 3⁄4 cup) dry white wine
✻ 200ml (generous 3⁄4 cup) dry sherry, such as fino
✻ 200ml (generous 3⁄4 cup) good fish or chicken stock, ideally homemade
✻ 500g (18oz) plum tomatoes, finely chopped (with skin and seeds)
✻ 200g (7oz) mussels, cleaned and debearded
✻ 200g (7oz) squid, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces
✻ 6 large tiger prawns (shrimp), shell on
✻ juice of 1 lemon
✻ 1⁄2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, stalks and all
1. Set your paella pan in the direct heat zone of the barbecue and add a lug of olive oil. Throw in the chorizo and cook for two minutes, stirring briskly, to release its paprika-infused juices. Add the chicken or rabbit and brown on each side before adding the onion, garlic, peppers and chilli. Cook for 5–6 minutes, stirring as you go, until everything has softened but not coloured. Now add the paprika, rice and saffron, and stir everything together well. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the wine, sherry, stock and tomatoes, and leave to cook for 12 minutes without stirring. The idea with paella is that you let the rice, in contact with the base and sides of the pan, lightly caramelise – unlike a risotto.
2. Now stir the mussels into the rice and place the squid and prawns on top of the rice, without stirring them through. If the rice is looking too dry, add a little water at this stage. Throw a handful of wood chips onto the coals, then close the lid of the barbecue and cook the paella for 8 minutes, by which time the rice and seafood should be just cooked through.
3. Serve and squeeze some lemon juice over the top, then sprinkle over the parsley.