Get cooking at college with this simple but delicious paella
The perfect paella is a budget-friendly supper for a crowd of hungry students
Paella is cheap, nutritious and versatile
Paella is cheap, nutritious and versatile. It’s very easy to make and is a great recipe for students about to move out of home now that they have their place in college. It’s the perfect midweek meal for feeding the family at home too. This recipe feeds a crowd of six and is extremely versatile.
I’ve used chicken breasts in this version, along with some spicy sweet chorizo. A bag of frozen prawns, squid rings or fresh mussels are all delicious additions. Or whip up a vegan version with courgettes, peppers, butter beans and smoked sweet paprika. Crumble a dried nori sheet over the finished dish along with the parsley to give it extra nutrients and a taste of the sea. The burst of fresh lemon juice is essential. It brightens up the entire dish.
Leftover roast chicken can be stirred into the rice, too. I’m always looking at ways to avoid food waste, and this paella is one of those dishes that will absorb all of your kitchen scraps. Any vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, onions or courgettes, can be added. Shredded smoked bacon or lardons can be added in place of chorizo. I always tend to use frozen peas as they’re frozen at their peak. Bags of mixed frozen peppers or diced vegetables are very handy to have in the freezer for days when it seems that getting a dinner on the table is unlikely.
I’m using tomatoes a lot at the moment as they are plentiful and perfectly ripe. Top the paella with even more freshly cut, sweet tomatoes if you have them, along with plenty of freshly chopped herbs. Parsley is ideal but tarragon or a little basil will be delicious too.
I’ve used long-grain rice here for a quick and easy dish. Bomba rice is traditionally used in Spain for paella but is less readily available here. Use it if you can get it; it is usually sold in little cloth sacks and can be quite costly, but it’s worth it. It’s short, slightly rounded and does not get sticky and starchy while absorbing two or three times its volume in liquid. Italian Arborio can also be used – it produces a starchier liquid and retains a slight nuttiness when cooked properly. Arborio is delicious for rice puddings too; another one-pot wonder rice dish that’s filling and cheap. I’ve found a variety of rices to be essential in my store cupboard especially when feeding large numbers of people economically.
3 chicken breasts, sliced
60ml olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
225g long grain rice
600ml chicken or vegetable stock
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 orange pepper, roughly chopped
120g frozen peas
1 handful pitted olives
3tbs finely chopped parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onion, garlic and peppers. Cook for two minutes.
Dice the chorizo and add to the pan along with the chicken. Cook for a further five minutes before adding the rice and stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and place the lid on. Leave to cook gently for 15 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and frozen peas. Stir gently, then replace the lid and leave to cook for a further 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the rice has absorbed the stock.
Season to taste with the salt. Scatter with the olives and plenty of parsley before serving with wedges of lemon.