November 25, 2015

OMG! The Best Paella Ever

OMG! The Best Paella Ever - A simple 'How To' recipe by Anna Johnston -

The sun is setting behind the Brindabellas, the picturesque backdrop to the veranda of my Australian home.

Sunset from my backyard out across the Brindabella Mountain Range in Australia - Photo by Aussy Phelps - How to make Perfect Paella

Sunset from my backyard out across the Brindabella Mountain Range – Photo by Aussy Phelps

The air is balmy and smells of fresh cut grass and spring flowers. The sounds of Spanish guitar whisk me away to another world.

Perfect Paella - Sunset from my backyard -

Sunset through the tomato plant in my kitchen garden

I have a glass of chilled mock fruit sangria in one hand, and a fork in the other.

Chilled Fruit Mocktail - - Perfect Paella

Strawberry & Mandarin mocktails

Mouth-watering, I stare at the giant pan brimming with golden grains of rice decorated with herbs from my garden, lemons and smoky paprika. I just made an enormous paella.

The Best Paella Ever! A simple 'How To' by Anna Johnston -

The finished product – Paella

You’ll need a paella pan, a metal pan that is slightly bigger and deeper than the traditional kitchen pan. Short-grained, rounded rice that has the ability to absorb all the flavors of the other ingredients and to grow in volume, up to three times its original size.

LOOK - A Giant Paella Pan - Used to make Paella in -

LOOK – A Giant Paella Pan

The excellent thing about paella is that there really is no set recipe, it all comes down to your taste preferences. Some like it moist and juicy, others prefer it dry with a crispy layer at the bottom. Some like to add seafood, meat or chicken, others like to mix it all together. Mine is a combination of chicken, seafood and Spanish chorizo infused with saffron, a fragrant and perfume-like spice often referred to as ‘culinary gold’, although this batch is not as golden as I’d like it to be, because I ran out of Saffron. #sadface

I’d love to know, what deliciousness have you created or consumed in your kitchen this week?

The Best Paella Ever - A simple 'How To' recipe by Anna Johnston -

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35-45 minutes

  • 2.5lt chicken stock
  • 880g (4 cups) short-grain rice
  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3 small brown onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 ripe tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 4 chorizo sausages, thickly sliced diagonally
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 green tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 4 (about 400g) chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

Step 1 – Combine the stock and saffron in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and hold at a simmer, covered. While most people would throw the heads and the shells of the prawns away, I say utilise their delicious taste and boil them in salted water to create a stock to be poured over the rice too.

Step 2 – Fry the diced chicken and chorizo in olive oil until lightly browned. Move aside to the cooler part of your paella pan so you can get cracking with the sauce that consists of finely chopped capsicum, garlic, onion, paprika and tomatoes cooked in the juices from the chicken and chorizo. Stir for two minutes before evenly spreading the rice in the paella pan. Move the rice around with a wooden spoon. Give the rice a couple of minutes to absorb the taste and aroma of the red sauce before continuing. Then add the prawns and throw away your wooden spoon – you do not stir the paella after this.

Step 3 – Add plenty of stock because the rice will expand and rise. Let your paella cook for about 25 minutes on a low fire. Remove from heat and cover with a tea towel for another 5 minutes to allow a crust to form. 

Step 4 – Spoon paella among serving plates and serve with fresh herbs & lemon. 

This dish is a little time consuming, but really not as intimidating to make as it may seem. Plus the gorgeous presentation and punchy flavours guarantee this dish is going to be a crowd pleaser! 

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shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

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Tammi @ Tea For Tammi - February 1, 2016 Reply

Ooh making a paella is on the list when I come back from holidays. My favourite bit are the crispy bits on the bottom – everyone always fights over them in my house!

Eileen | The Food Avenue - January 30, 2016 Reply

Yarm!! I just love paella! I will have to try this recipe sometime soon!

    Anna - January 31, 2016 Reply

    Paella is the BOMB! 🙂 I say we have a paella party before it gets cold. 🙂

Rosemary - January 30, 2016 Reply

Reading this has made me so hungry…It looks delicious! Yum! You description makes it seem really easy to make. It’s a dish that I’ve always been intimated to make. Love it though! Love the mix of chicken, seafood and chorizo…incredible! If you need help eating the paella the next time you make it…hollla!!

    Anna - January 31, 2016 Reply

    Yay! And yes…. you absolutely must come for one of my paella nights! I think you should just go for it and have a go at making paella, its actually really simple. 🙂

Laura - January 30, 2016 Reply

I do love paella, in pretty much any form. You really can’t go wrong with those flavors.

    Anna - January 31, 2016 Reply

    Teehee… my thoughts exactly! 🙂

Lauren - January 29, 2016 Reply

That paella looks delicious, all the flavours I like! Love the sound (and photograph) of your mock Sangria cocktails too – can’t wait for the English summer to arrive!

Paula McInerney - January 29, 2016 Reply

We went to a paella academy in Valencia, Spain and graduated. We have put our diplomas on the fridge like proud little kids. We love eating and making paella, and you are right, you can totally mix it up.

Serina aka Ms Frugal Ears - January 29, 2016 Reply

I love that you just happen to have a proper paella pan. Beautify view from your veranda.

    Anna - January 29, 2016 Reply

    Years ago I worked in a hospitality supply store, one of the perks was a MASSIVE discount, so I bought a bunch of things (giant paella pan) I probably wouldn’t normally. And yes, I am so lucky having such a beautiful view from my backyard. The sunsets are magical over the Brindies.

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Rosemarie of Travel and Beyond - December 15, 2015 Reply

I wish I could have some right now! It looks amazing… I don’t attempt paellas at home cause I can’t see myself making it without seafood. And since Joseph doesn’t eat seafood I just end up making different kind of biryanis all the time!

    Anna - December 21, 2015 Reply

    WOAH! That is a total bummer Joseph doesn’t dig seafood, I get why you don’t make them at home as paella really does need the seafood. Good to know you make a mean biryani tho, dinner at your place for sure. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - December 8, 2015 Reply

Big paella fan here and this one looks great! 😀 We’ve been consuming far too many sweets this week. Oops! 😀

    Anna - December 11, 2015 Reply

    Thanks my love! And calories dont count at Christmas time. 🙂

kris - December 2, 2015 Reply

Why hello.

Beautiful food there. I haven’t had me a Paella in for ever. I love the crust on the pan once it is all finished.
Amazing photos as well.

    Anna - December 2, 2015 Reply

    Good Hello Little Brother! 🙂
    Why thank ya, Paella is always a winner huh? Like you, big fan of the crust on the pan…. Mmmm…. I freakin love the stuff. 🙂

Melanie @ Melanie Cooks - December 2, 2015 Reply

Awesome looking paella! I just stumbled upon your blog today – the name of your blog caught my attention 🙂 My daughter’s name is Anna – I think she’ll love shenANNAgans!

    Anna - December 2, 2015 Reply

    Thanks HEAPS Melanie. 🙂 I am so pleased you stopped in to say Gday.
    Teehee, that is the best, Anna’s ROCK!

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[…] Anna […]

hassan - November 29, 2015 Reply

Anna … Hi
We cant cook it. Wish we can see in yr kitchen.

    Anna - November 30, 2015 Reply

    Hey Ya Hassan! Happy Hellos. 🙂 Hope you had a super weekend.
    Why can you not cook it? The ingredients? It is possible to make when you dont have the paella pan.
    Let me know, I can come up with a recipe that is suitable for you guys. 🙂

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl - November 29, 2015 Reply

Your homeland is beautiful and this recipe looks delicious! I’ve never heard of paella so I’m quite excited to try this! Thanks again for sharing, as always. 🙂

    Anna - November 30, 2015 Reply

    Thanks heaps Pamela, I really am lucky to have that beautiful landscape as my back yard. 🙂
    Wowza, I thought for sure Paella would have been something you would have prepared before. Let me know how you go, its a winner dish I reckon.

Tim UrbanDuniya - November 28, 2015 Reply

OMG this looks soon good!! I <3 Paella, but I don't eat pork, so I often have to go without. Not any more – I'll be making my very own chorizo-less paella at home!! 😀

    Anna - November 30, 2015 Reply

    It’s the bomb huh, Tim. I freakin love it too! Happy cooking, send me pictures of your seafood paella friend.

Agness - November 28, 2015 Reply

Your paella looks so colorful! If it was a vegan one, I would love to dig into it!!! 🙂 Who’s the best chef in the town? 😛

    Anna - November 30, 2015 Reply

    Hey Ya Agness! It really is a lovely dish, and could very easily be made into a vegan dish. 🙂

Liz - November 27, 2015 Reply

I just made paella, too! Yours looks incredible—so great to have so much to choose from in one pan! I wish we lived near each other as I’d love to sample yours!!

    Anna - November 27, 2015 Reply

    Yumbo… And YES, I so wish we lived closer, I’d be at your house most days eating all the deliciousness you prepare. 🙂

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - November 26, 2015 Reply

not sure which view is better, the one you were looking at, or the one of the paella!

    Anna - November 27, 2015 Reply

    Oh yeah, I really am very blessed to have that scenic setting as my backyard. 🙂 Pair that with perfect paella…. Life is GOOD!

Mabel Kwong - November 26, 2015 Reply

I love paella and your paella looks out of this world. It might not be as yellow as traditional paella, but I’m sure it is mouth-watering and tastes delicious! My favourite kind of paella is seafood paella. I do like chorizo but sometimes it is too spicy for my liking! 😀

As for the texture, I like this dish in between, in between moist and dry. Don’t like it too wet with the sauce everywhere, but don’t like it too dry with the individual pieces of rice not sticking to each other. Ha…you can probably tell your lil sis is a fussy eater! It seems paella is rather expensive in Melbourne – at least $10 for a plate of paella. But it usually fills me up and I walk away feeling stuffed. Hope you are well Miss Anna. Squishy hugs and smooches your way. Take care <3

    Anna - November 27, 2015 Reply

    Lil sis….. it tasted SO dang good, and there was heaps of left overs so I had me some pretty delicious left overs for lunch too. 🙂
    I dont think I have ever made a straight seafood paella, but I reckon it’d be the business. And I know what you mean about the chorizo being spicy, i too do not enjoy the overly spiced sausage either. Haha… I am exactly the same with my paella, a nice combination of both. And I love that you are a fussy eater, it’s good to know what you like and do not like, no time for procrastinators. 🙂
    Have an amazing weekend. Biiiiiig love and hugs. xoxo

Ala - November 26, 2015 Reply

Gorgeous, girl–GORGEOUS! Everything from this backdrop to your writing to this wonderful recipe just fill me with warmth on this chilly evening. If only I could step right into your kitchen and inhale those warm smells! Sending you hugs from over yonder, gal!!

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    Nawh thanks my lady! I am so pleased my post was able to offer you a little warmth. 🙂
    What I’d do to be able to have you in my kitchen, far out but would that be coooooool.
    Biiiiig hugs back at chya. Mwah. xo

Elizabeth - November 26, 2015 Reply

I LOVE PAELLA but can you believe I have never made it!!! That’s it, I’m going out to buy a pan right now!!!
Nice to see you back in the swing babe!
Liz xx

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    Wawhooooo, love that this post inspired a trip to the shops to get a Paella pan. Yay! When I visit, lets make paella. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Thanks for your love and support when I was down, you are amazing. Big love headed your way. xoxox

John/Kitchen Riffs - November 26, 2015 Reply

Crusty bottom for the paella for me, please. I haven’t made paella in years — don’t know why. Maybe because I don’t have a pan? Lousy excuse, because a shallow frying pan works pretty well. Anyway, yours looks wonderful! Thanks.

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    Done and done John! When you come for dinner I will make sure your order is right.
    It’s a bit of a household fave, great for family dinners served Lazy Susan style. The pan does kinda make the whole experience more enjoyable, so it’s not at all a lousy excuse. 😉 Glad you enjoyed. Happy cooking friend.

Denise Browning@From Brazil To You - November 26, 2015 Reply

I gotta make paella again. It is a complete, delicious meal. It has been years since I made my last one — when I was hired to develop a menu for a Spanish tapas restaurant. 🙂 The scene photos are stunning! xx

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    It really is one of those delicious and complete meals huh?
    Wow, that sounds interesting Denise, what a fun way to learn about different styles of food and preparation too. Your cheffing career really does sound fascinating.
    Glad you enjoyed the photos from my backyard. Aussie – Aussie – Aussie! 🙂
    Have a happy day! xox

Mandy - November 25, 2015 Reply

Right, that’s it, the final decision has been made…
You will have to do all the cooking when you come and visit one day.
Have a beautiful day darling Anna.
🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    Fabulous! Happy to be chief cook when I visit, if there is wine and your amazing company (maybe a Meerkat too) I will be happy as a pig in mud.
    Wishing you a super day ahead too. Biiiiig loves! xoxo

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - November 25, 2015 Reply

I’ll be right over Anna. Should take me about three hours to get to your place 😉

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    Haha…. WINNING!!!! 🙂 See you kids in a couple of hours. xo

The Hungry Mum - November 25, 2015 Reply

ohmygosh – what a stunning view you have! Those photos… le sigh… Hope you saved some paella for meeeeee!

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    It really is one of the best views, even in the winter when there is snow.
    Come on over Hungry Mum, looks like a rather great gathering of foodies are keen. LOL! 🙂

Krista - November 25, 2015 Reply

Love this so very, very much. That light is exquisite, the music, the food, everything. I want to be there. 🙂 As I wrote you on Facebook, my favorite thing this week was pears roasted with pecorino. So good. My other favorite was making Ethiopian food. How I loved all the different stews scooped up with the injera bread. Delish. 🙂

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    Well come on over sweet lady! Would very happily repeat this evening to include you and Bear. 🙂
    Pears and pecorino…. YES PLEASE.
    I haven’t really eaten too and never made Ethiopian food, but it does sound interesting, I’ll have to hunt around on your blog for some delicious recipes.

Hannah - November 25, 2015 Reply

So jealous!

I have been sampling (drinking litres of) sangria a little bit lately.
Somehow forgot how delicious it is!

I have been engaging in a clear out the fridge and freezer expedition this week, as my fridge broke.
So far we have had carbonara, peaches with ricotta and prosciutto on toast and party pies.
Tonight is green prawn curry!

Eating all the things!

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    You kids are totes welcome to borrow the Paella pan, it’s such a great meal for family gatherings, orrrrrrr if you want to make a truck load and freeze for lunches. YES!!!
    Hahaa… Excellent you are owning the warmer days with sangria, I don’t really have pleasant memories attached to sangria, but the mock version is amaze.
    Thought your man got his ‘Bob the builder on’ and fixed the shiz outta your fridge? Peaches with ricotta and prosciutto on toast, sounds interesting, is it weird on toast? And love me some party pies. MMMMmmmm!

Susan - November 25, 2015 Reply

Love me a good paella & this dish suits alfresco dining everytime too.

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    Meeeeeeeee too! So pleased we made it through another flippin freezing Canberra winter, it makes alfresco dining all the more wonderful. 🙂

Christopher O'Connor - November 25, 2015 Reply

Hey there my lovely,

I LOVE your blog……

Your paella recipe sounds delicious.

So I have also been a little busy in the kitchen and this is what I have cooked over the past few days:
Mexican Chilli Con Carne, Pesto Chicken with Crunchy Panzanella Salad & Teriyaki Beef

They were all pretty good too.

Have an awesome week and I look forward to seeing your smiling face in December 🙂

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    Nawh thanks HEAPS Chris, that sure is a lovely thing to read. I appreciate that very much, I appreciate you very much. 🙂
    All the yarm coming out of your kitchen this week. Panzanella salad is the business and Teriyaki beef #drool, haven’t had chilli con carne for ever, must make again soon. Mmmmm.
    Glad you enjoyed, you’ve inspired me to get my chef on and create a couple of different recipes.
    Wishing you a wonderful week ahead too, see your face in December. 🙂 xo

Liz (Good Things) - November 25, 2015 Reply

Mmmmmm, love paella xx

    Anna - November 26, 2015 Reply

    It’s a goodie huh, Lizzy. 🙂

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