Easy BBQ Paella Recipe
An English Take on a Traditional Spanish Recipe
A Spaniard once told me that it takes ten men to make a paella. One man does the cooking and the other nine tend the fire! (In my experience there's at least one woman in the kitchen doing the real work preparing the ingredients.) Now, that's a recipe for trouble!.
This is a recipe for fun. Provided you assemble all the ingredients and have them to hand and light the fire and let it mature, it's difficult to go wrong. I'm no gourmet chef, but even I have cooked this meal a hundred times and never had a disaster yet.
We've got guests arriving this weekend who have requested our special "Spanglish" paella. The weather's perfect, the beer's cold, the wine's just right, so bring it on!
- Rice, pref. round grain, about 50gms or 2ozs per person, washed and drained
- Garlic (chopped)
- Green and/or red peppers (sliced)
- Celery (chopped)
- Courgettes (zucchinis)/ cauliflowers/ cabbage/ green beans/ spinach/ peas/ mushrooms and just about any veg you have available (chopped/ sliced/ diced)
- Tomatoes (peeled and chopped or tinned)
- Tinned Tuna
- Anise seeds
- Pimenton (Paprika)
- Bay leaves
- Turmeric and/or saffron (steeped in boiled water)
- Bouillon powder/ stock cube
- Olive oil and sunflower oil for frying
- Toppings: Whole prawns, lemon wedges, olives
You can also add capers, salted anchovies, steamed artichoke hearts and/or asparagus spears if you like
The list of ingredients above is only a guide, apart from the rice you can add whatever you have available or leave out anything you can't get hold of. Use as little or as much as you think you might like or have available. You can chuck just about anything in at any time and as long as it's cooked long enough it'll turn out just fine. There's no room for celebrity chef histrionics here!
- Fry the rice in the sunflower oil and keep it on the move. Try not to let it burn.
- Add in garlic and vegetables and stir them around. When everything's nicely bathed in hot oil, add some olive oil for taste and stir round a little more.
- Add water and allow the ingredients to boil.
- Add tomato.
- Add herbs and spices.
- Add tuna
- Keep moving around and adding water as necessary.
- Keep tasting and add more of anything that you think might improve the flavour.
- When all the ingredients have been added, leave to gently simmer, adding small amounts of water if necessary.
- When the rice is getting soft, bring out your inner artist and decorate your paella.
- Keep simmering until it tastes just right and serve.
- NOTE: If you remove the the paella from the heat when the rice is almost cooked, the rice will continue to cook and a caramelised layer will form on the bottom of the pan. This is known In Spain as "socarrat". It is delicious and is the sign of a really good paella! Take it from me, everyone loves the "crusty bits on the bottom".
Cooking the Paella
I've cooked this dish on expensive gas barbecues, cheap metal charcoal barbecues and open fires. I prefer to use natural wood on a charcoal barbecue. Just about any natural wood will do, provided it's not known to be toxic, like oleander cuttings or any wood that's been painted or chemically treated. In my case I use small almond, olive or pine logs and, on occasions, shop bought barbecue coals. You can, of course use any mixture of any safe natural wood that you can lay your hands on. When you light the fire let it mature, you don't want it too hot, but you do want to ensure there's enough fuel to finish the job.
I like to bathe my paellas in aromatic smoke, so I add rosemary cuttings from the garden to the hot coals and then cover the simmering food with the barbecue lid. You can also buy aromatic wood chippings for this job.
You may, of course, decide not to bother with the vagaries of a wood or charcoal fire and use your trusty gas barbie and that's just fine.
I use a 13 inch diameter paella pan to make enough food for four people. If you don't have a paella pan use a large frying pan. I have even used a wok, but don't recommend it. The point is use a little common sense and whatever's available. The same can be said of the ingredients.
Decorating the Paella
The Best Equipment for the Job - Easy Paella is Even Easier with the Right Utensils!
If you love this recipe and wish to make "Spanglish" paella for your friends and family, Amazon can help.
Valencian Paella Fiesta
Paella Competition in Valencia
Valencia in eastern Spain is said to be the undisputed home of the paella. If you look at the above video you will see Valencian people enjoying themselves competing in a paella making competition. My paella making efforts might not win a prize here, but I have been asked to make my "Spanglish" paella so often over the years that it is great to have the opportunity to share the recipe with the wider world.
Scroll down for a super-simple dessert idea to compliment your paella!
Fancy a Paella?
Have you ever made a paella before?
How About a Super-simple BBQ Dessert?
If there's enough life left in your BBQ after you've finished cooking your paella, why not treat yourself and your guests to this super-simple dessert. Place a whole, firm banana per person on the grill and cook until the skins are completely black. Remove the bananas, peel and serve drenched with any of the following: cream, honey, maple syrup, molasses, chocolate sauce or even a sprinkle of your favourite liqueur - simply delicious!