~Written and edited by Veronica Clark ~

Monday, 19 September 2011

Paella Aplenty

Good morning dear ones. I have had a very busy weekend which started on Friday already, with a visit to the Wild Flower Reserves of Darling along with hoards, and I mean hoards of tourists. It was wonderful though, to be out in the reserves among the flowers searching for natures little treasures close to the ground. The weather is still terribly confused and one minute we have spring and then winter chases us indoors again. But, I have my eyes firmly on spring and Canal Walk Shopping Centre have started their Christmas Decorations. Can you believe it? How time flies!

Spotting the Christmas decorations, immediately made me think of Christmas and Summer Holiday food, naturally!! One of my favourite dishes for the holidays around the pool is paella. Well, first of all ,it always feeds a crowd and second of all, everyone can get involved in helping to make it. This recipe feeds between 8- 12 depending on how many prawns and how big the fish!

Now, of course as you know, its a Spanish Rice dish that originated in Valencia where it is a regional dish that is regarded as a identifying symbol. I am sure there are many debates as to how to make paella and what should and should not be added, and over a glass or two of Sangria we can have lengthy debates and discussions about the merits of  adding snails, rabbit, chicken, duck, beans, etc!! And, of course what rice to use will take a few more sangria's to conclude. So, let us just say, that my Paella recipe falls into the freestyle paella category...very free style.

So here is a typical summer holiday menu at our house around the pool in Dec/Jan.

Strawberry Champage Fizz


Served with Springfield's Wild Yeast Chardonnay without fail!

Lemon Meringue

Veronica's Paella

Light the braai fire and make the Champagne Strawberry fizz for the chefs.

Pour a small amount of strawberry puree (strained to remove seeds) into a tall glass and top up with your favourite bubbly. Pour slowly as it fizzes and you will have yourself doused in no time at all and the dog will be licking the floor with a glee full look on his face, So take care..

Now onto the paella

1.5 kg of chicken
 ( I use small drumsticks but I have also used deboned thighs or mini chicken breast fillets)

400 g smoked pork cut into strips
(I use smoked gammon steaks)

(the proper horse shoe one from Woolies or delis)

as many as you want!

Fresh Calamari tubes cut into rounds

Fresh Mussels
as many as you feel you need

Fresh Fish

(I choose an oily fish such a yellow tail, tuna or even the fish kebabs on offer at Woolies. As long as it is braaiable (Can be BBQed)

2 Large Onions, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 chilli, seeded and finely chopped
3 red peppers, seeded and cut into slivers
4-6 tomatoes, skinned and chopped or tin tomatoes
fresh basil
fresh parsley

750 g arborio rice
(debate declared open, bring your own Sangria)
30 ml turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
2 pinches saffron
2 litres  hot Chicken Stock
( made with 4 chicken stock cubes or fresh of course)
I also use fish stock if I was able to make it myself
100 ml white wine
Olive oil

I am very particular about which paprika to use. This is the absolute best for me!!

Now that you have your bountiful harvest together here's what you do...

Whip out your paella pan and get going...

Saute the chorizo first in order to use the oils released from the chorizo to fry the onions and garlic in otherwise
Saute the onions in olive oil until translucent adding the chilli as well
Towards the end add the crushed garlic and saute briefly to release the oils
My paella pan is large enough and here I am sauteing onions, chorizo and the smoked pork gammon simultaneously.

Remove and set aside

Saute the red peppers as well. I prefer to roast the pepper on the braai (BBQ) since the fire is going and then to remove the skin and cut into slivers. Since Mr. Tassels is tending the fire I give him a tongs to turn them until they are blackened and done. Put in a paper bag and then remove skins easily.

This time round I used the mini chicken fillets and dipped them in BBQ marinade and sauté until done
Set aside

Stir fry the prawns until done...
Same with the calamari ~ they only take a few seconds.
No need to spice they will absorb all the flavour in the pan

...or hand them to the chef in charge of the BBQ to grill them over the fire along with the fish or fish kebabs

Set aside...

Now for the rice....

To begin with I sauté the rice in a little olive oil stirring all the time.
Add the turmeric to the rice and sauté
Place the saffron strands in a little bowls and pour over a little boiling water and leave to steep

Add the tomatoes to the rice and continue to stir

Ladle in the warm stock one ladle at a time stirring until all the stock has been absorbed

Towards the end of cooking I add the paprika and the saffron and stir for a few minutes

This is where is gets interesting.....and you have to pretend you're an octopus if you do not have any help at hand.

Steam the mussels in a pot with a bit of boiling water until shells open.
Discard any mussels that do not open

Add  the chicken, pork, chorizo, onions, red peppers, calamari, mussels, prawns and warm through.

Most people add cooked peas but I usually do not preferring to leave it as is or to just garnish it with fresh parsley or basil.

Adjust the seasonig to your taste. Since I am a paprika freak I always add a little more...

The fish  I usually serve on the side with plenty of lemons

I prefer a  white wine like Springfield Wild Yeast Chardonnay or Nitida Sauvignon Blanc

Bon Apetité

Now, I have to say that you probably think that it looks like a lot of work but honestly, you get so practised that it gets faster and anyway, since it holidays there are always helping hands and its fun to involve everyone.

So you can farm out the mussel steaming, the fish and prawns to the BBQ chief...

Do give it a try, wether you are in summer or autumn it suits both seasons perfectly.

Let us refresh your memory and tastebuds!!!

Live Well Friends



Please regale me with your thoughts and comments below.

Thanks for stopping by....

Linking to On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable here

Mosaic Monday with Mary at Dear Little Red House here

Just something I whipped up at The Girl Creative here

Recipe Roundup here Christmas Smorgasboard of Recipes
Amaze me Monday at Dittle Dattle here

Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits at Permanent Posies here

Saturday Show Off at Be Different act Normal here


  1. Yummy - Yummy! Beautiful images, my mouth went watery!
    What else can I say - BON APPETIT!

    Greetings from the Périgord,

  2. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM-EE! Looks awesome! I love seafood and fish. This looks like a lot of fun if you ask me. I love to cook though! Looks like the perfect wine to go with it too! I enjoyed reading through this! Thank you.

  3. Your posts are stunning....I just love your paella and that shot of the glass of Chardonnay!
    Beautiful post of the spring tea too!
    Well done!
    Shel xx

  4. Hi darling, beautiful photos of a yummy delicious looking dish... I would say it would take practice to make it go quickly, I've copied off the recipe, something fun and different to try, thanks for sharing.. hugs ~lynne~

  5. Hi Veronica, seafoods are my favorite food, and your paella looks so delicious. Now i feel very hungry. That looks quite a lot, maybe you have many mouths to give it to!

  6. I just finished lunch, and now I'm hungry again. Thanks a lot Veronica. lol Seriously, your photos a yummy.

  7. Oh wow that looks all so good! The prawns are my favorite! I have to go down south to get them with their heads still on. lol


  8. Veronica, I love paella! Yours looks so delicious. I put clams in mine in addition to mussels.

    I love your giant pan ..I will have to buy one of those one day.

  9. That looks gorgeous! Years ago in Spain I bought two sizes of Paella pans - an enormous one for crowds and a smaller one for when it's just two or four. I like to put lobster in mine, when I can get it, but otherwise our recipes are nearly identical.

  10. I would love to be a guest in your home when you entertain like this. Awesome stuff going on in that kitchen. xx's

  11. Back in the Philippine we have Paella too and your photos made me hungry ^_^

    The Rose

  12. Your post are really delicious! I think people all over the world really do love paella.

  13. Wow! I feel like I need to email these photos to my son in Italy (army Captain) just to make him jealous....haha. This is right up his alley!