Ever since I gently persuaded my family into buying me a paella pan for my birthday four years ago, I have been utterly in love! In love with the process of slowly building an array of ingredients to form a perfectly balanced mix of flavours, in love with the taste of each delicious mouthful, and in love with the way it can bring a smile to pretty much anyone’s face. A dish packed with such flavour, amazing vibrant colours and filled with a variety of delicious ingredients and produce, how can one not fall in love!?
Since I wouldn’t dare attempt to order paella at a restaurant ‘without onion and garlic’ (almost an impossibility!), it has become one of my favourite dishes to cook at home – low FODMAP and you wouldn’t know the difference. It is especially perfect for special occasions to share amongst family and friends, or a cheeky meal for two with leftovers for days!
Some pretty great times have been shared over my paella pan. I love plonking it in the middle of a table, with a rather proud feeling of accomplishment, then watching the joyful faces get stuck into it. And the best bit is when everyone hits the crispy, crunchy rice on the bottom. That’s pure happiness.
It does take some time and a little patience to make a perfect paella. Searching and foraging for the right ingredients and fresh produce. Preparing the ingredients before you start cooking. And of course waiting for the paella to cook knowing that you are not allowed to stir it! As someone who always has to be doing something, that is the trickiest part for me! There is no doubt though, a lot of love goes into paella making and there is something special about this style of cooking that makes it so much fun.
On that note, I hope I have inspired you to go all out and buy a paella pan from Casa Iberica Deli in Fitzroy, throw a paella party, put on some catchy tunes and dance around in the kitchen while whipping up this spesh meal (did I mention that the dancing is essential while cooking paella?).
Serves 4-6, using a 36cm paella pan*
1 chorizo sausage (look for no onion and garlic if you cannot tolerate)
1 chicken breast, sliced
1 large red capsicum, chopped
Parsley stalks, finely chopped
Sea salt & ground pepper
200g tinned tomatoes
400g paella rice (Arborio works well too)
1L chicken stock (homemade or look for no onion and garlic)
10 strings of saffron, ground with salt in mortar and pestle until fine powder
2 tsp sweet paprika
~8 large whole prawns
~8 fresh mussels
120g peas or green beans
Fresh parsley leaves
First and foremost, prepare all your ingredients so they are ready to go. Cover base of paella pan in oil and heat over medium heat. Add chopped capsicum, chorizo and chicken, fry for 5 minutes or until coloured. Add parsley stalks, salt and pepper and continue to fry gently for 2 minutes. Add rice, chillies, paprika and ground saffron powder, stirring until the rice is coated. Add tinned tomatoes, stock and more salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stir for the last time, then turn down to a medium-low heat.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and squeeze half a lemon over the top. Plonk the paella pan in the middle of your table and dish up with a lemon wedge on the side.
*I can assure you, adding a paella pan to your kitchen supplies will not result in regret! But if you don’t have one handy, try using a deep dish fry pan for similar results.
Low FODMAP | gluten free | fructose friendly | lactose free | sugar free