This delicious seafood paella recipe is a favourite of our Cook School Director Ibolya and is a recipe that she has honed over the years. It may seem a little complicated, but it's actually surprisingly straightforward and you won't believe what a difference the homemade stock makes! There are a thousand variations on a traditional paella; from the Valencian classic featuring rabbit and chicken, to vegetarian versions full of colourful veggies. This seafood paella features delicious king prawns, mussels and squid.
Homemade Seafood Stock
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 10 whole king prawns, head and shell
- 1 whole onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small celery stick, finely diced
- 35g of tomato puree
- 2 bay leaves
- 200ml of dry white wine
- 1.2L of water
For the Paella itself
- 300g of paella rice (we like Bomba rice!)
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tbsp of tomato puree
- 3 pinches of high quality saffron thread
- 2 tsp of sweet paprika
- 1.2L of homemade seafood stock (see above)
- 6 pinches of Maldon sea salt
- 300g of baby squid
- 600g of mussels
- 6 whole frozen king prawns with head and shell
- 10 whole fresh peeled prawns
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Half a bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 lemon
To make the homemade seafood stock:
- Remove the head and shells from 10 prawns and de-vein them by gently cutting down the spine and removing the black vein. Keep 6 prawns whole for the final presentation of the dish.
- Keep the shells and the heads to add to your stock.
- In a small pot heat some sunflower oil.
- Add the reserved shells/heads to the pan and start to fry on medium-high heat until the colour changes from translucent to orange. You'll begin to smell a beautiful fragrance too!
- Add the finely diced onion, celery, garlic and the bay leaves, and saute together for 3-4 minutes.
- Add a small amount of tomato puree and keep mixing and cooking for further 2 minutes.
- Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, before adding the water.
- Bring everything to the boil, before turning down to simmer for at least 30-45 minutes.
- Finish by passing through a fine sieve or cheesecloth in to a large bowl.
- Keep 1.2L of your stock for the paella. The rest can be frozen for up to 4 months and used again!
Preparing your paella:
- Peel and finely dice the onion.
- Remove the seeds from the red pepper and cut to a fine dice.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic
- Pick the parsley leaves from the stalks and chop the stem very finely. Keep the picked leaves to one side for later.
- Prepare the squid by removing the head, keeping the tentacles in tact. Clean the inside of the body under running water and remove any cartilage. Remove the skin and chop the squid into medium thick rings.
- Wash and de-beard the mussels, throwing away any that are opened or damaged.
Cooking your paella:
- In a wide, flat pan (a paella pan is ideal if you have one), heat up the olive oil.
- Sweat the onions until translucent, before adding the diced red pepper and finely chopped parsley stalks. Cook until soft.
- Add the rice and cook with the sauted vegetables for 1-2 minutes, before adding the garlic, smoked paprika, saffron and tomato puree. Cook for further 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic, paprika and saffron, as they burn very quickly and can leave a bitter taste.
- Add the stock to the pan, giving your dish a final stir. It's important not to stir from this point on!
- Bring everything to the boil, before turning down to a medium to low heat and simmer for 15 - 18 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to a very low setting and add the mussels, prawns and squid to the pan. Arrange them nicely on top and cover the pan with a lid or tinfoil for 5-7 minutes.
- Check that the mussels have all opened; throw away any that haven't, as they may be off.
- Check the prawns are cooked through and that the rice has absorbed all of the stock.
- If necessary you can add a little more hot stock toward the end if the rice seems still a bit dry and steam with the lid on for a few more minutes.
- Serve your paella with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and some lemon wedges. Enjoy!
- If you don't mind breaking the rules, you can mix seafood and meat in the paella. For example, a bit of chorizo fried with the onion.
- There are many types of paella, and there is no only one standard way of doing it. Feel free to have some experiment with new ingredients.