Mixed seafood and rabbit* paella
*you could substitute chicken for rabbit
I cooked this for 11 people so increased the quantities by half and cooked it in two pans as I did not have one large enough. I have used this recipe, or variations before and in the past have added clams instead of or in addition to mussels. I have also cooked it with galera (mantis shrimp) which are common in the Mediterranean and Adriatic and much cheaper than langoustines, but not popular with everyone. On this occasion I used only prawns and not langoustines.
75-100mls Extra Virgin olive oil
6-8 raw prawns & 6-8 raw langoustines (or 12+ prawns)
1kg fresh rabbit (or chicken or a mixture) chopped
250g small squid, cleaned and chopped in rings, preserving tentacles and chopped wings
2 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
12 + mussels (always prepare a few more than needed in case some have to be discarded)
1 small onion, minced or finely chopped
250g French beans, cut in 3-4cms piece
1 large green pepper, deseeded and chopped
1.75 litres of stock (use cooking liquid of mussels and/or chicken or rabbit stock
½ tsp saffron
½tsp sweet paprika (pimentón dulce)
750g Valencia (paella) rice
½ glass dry white wine or dry sherry
Small jar/tin roasted red peppers (pimientos del piquillo dulces)
Ingredients for cooking the mussels: olive oil; ½ small onion or 2-3 shallots, finely chopped; 1 stick chopped celery; a handful of chopped celery leaves; 2tbsp chopped fresh parsley; 1 glass dry white wine or dry sherry
To serve: 2-3 lemons; chopped parsley
It is helpful to do as much preparation as possible in advance – e.g. put the tomatoes in boiling water for two minutes, then remove skins and chop;
Remove seeds from green pepper and finely dice flesh;
Wash and scrub mussels, removing any dirt and beard (discard any which are broken or will not close) and leave in cold running water.
Heat half olive oil in a paella pan and gently fry two cloves of garlic and two bay leaves. When garlic has softened remove it and bay leaves and set aside.
Season the rabbit (chicken) pieces with salt and freshly ground pepper, gently brown in the paella pan and then set aside.
Very gently fry the prawns/langoustines until just turning pink – not fully cooked – and set aside.
Crush the cooked garlic and bay leaves with a pestle and mortar with 2 cloves fresh garlic, saffron, paprika, 3-4 peppercorns and a little coarse sea salt. Add ½ glass dry white wine or dry sherry, stir vigorously or whizz in a blender and set mixture aside.
To cook the cleaned mussels, take a fresh saucepan , add a little olive oil, heat gently, add the chopped onion/shallot and cook until softened but not brown. Add the chopped celery, celery leaves and chopped parsley and stir in the full glass of white wine/sherry adding a wine glass of water, bring to the boil and add mussels. Put on lid and cook for a few minutes, gently shaking the pan. After 2-3 minutes the mussels should have opened. Discard any that won’t open with a little further cooking. Remove, cover and set aside the cooked mussels. Strain and preserve the cooking liquid (any sand/grit should have sunk to the bottom of the pan so leave the liquid at the bottom of the pan when straining).
Gently sauté the squid rings, tentacles and chopped wings for a few minutes in the paella pan then add the green beans.
Add chopped tomatoes, continue frying for a minute or two then add the minced onion and chopped green pepper and fry for a further two minutes, then add remaining olive oil.
Add the rice to the paella pan and cook gently whilst stirring until the rice is coated with oil – it may be necessary to add a little more olive oil to ensure that all the rice grains are coated.
Take the reserved strained liquid from the mussels and make up to 1.75 litres with chicken or rabbit stock. Add this stock to the paella pan with the crushed garlic mixture and stir whilst bringing gently to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the rabbit (chicken) pieces, stir and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes. Test that the rice is al dente. From this point on do not stir! Remove all but 6 mussels from their shells and add the shelled and unshelled mussels to the paella dish together with the prawns/langoustines and simmer
gently for 5 more minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Taste to ensure rice is cooked. If not, or if at any time before this all liquid has been absorbed, add a little more stock – but cautiously and do not stir.
Remove from heat, decorate top with strips of red pepper. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with quarters of fresh lemon.
Santa Pola19 August 2015