Wednesday, March 9
Please excuse the terrible title, but it made me laugh so I went with it. I wanted a new way to use my Cheats Chorizo, and had an idea of a quick easy "paella" type dish that could be whipped up after work and would appeal to both kids and adults alike.
I was explaining all this to Mr PK and he commented it sounded like Mock Paella. A few years back, after reading Julie & Julia I decided I too needed a project (this!) and for a brief ill advised nano-second considered cooking my way through the Edmond's Cookbook . I know, terrible idea. For overseas readers, editions of this cookbook have been around in NZ since 1908, and many households would have a version, Mum had a fab 70's edition, everything was garnished with orange slices! Mine hails from the mid 90's, and was sent specially from NZ to London so I could make pavlova and pikelets even in foreign climes.......
One look at the fish and offal sections convinced me I could never cook (or indeed eat) Luncheon Salmon Mould or Tongue Mould, but the recipes that really caught my eye were the "mock" items. Mock whitebait I can almost get, whitebait is seasonal, and expensive even then, mock hollandaise, I guess it can be a tricky sauce, but mock chicken? When is chicken ever so difficult to get nowadays? And how onion and tomato mixed with herbs and plonked on a cracker is supposed to taste like chicken anyway is a mystery known only to that particular recipe writer ....I wont even mention mock pizza.....
Anyway, this is great, tasty little chorizo meatballs, peppers, smoky paprika and rice all bound in a chilli saffron tomato sauce. Takes about 20 mins and tastes fabulous. I mock you not.
Makes 2 generous servings
200 gr cheats chorizo (or use ordinary chorizo)
Splash olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped into small chunks
1/2 green pepper chopped into small chunks
3/4 cup of rice (I use Jasmine rice)
1 1/2 cups chicken or vege stock
Small tin of crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp each of sweet & hot smoked paprika
Pinch of saffron (optional)
Chopped red chilli to taste
Salt & pepper
Parsley and lemon to garnish
If you are using cheats chorizo take small amounts of your mince and make into little meatballs, about the size of a walnut. If using chorizo, chop into chunks about 1cm thick. Heat a splash of oil in a med frying pan over medium heat and add your meat. Cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes. The meat will release a small amount of oil, which is wonderful to then fry your onions in.
Take the meat out of the pan onto a plate, leaving the oil in the pan, and add the onion and garlic, Fry for 5 mins until soft, then add your peppers and stir in. Cook for another 5 mins or so until softened , then add the rice. Stir to coat in the veges and oil, and pour over your stock and tomatoes. Next add your paprika, and saffron & chilli if using.
Stir everything together and let it cook for at a gentle simmer for 12-15 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender but not mushy. Check the seasoning and add salt & pepper as nessesary. You will think there is too much liquid but don't stress, it will all get soaked up. If all the liquid is soaked in and the rice still has to much bite for you just add a tiny bit more stock or water.
Spoon into pretty bowls and top with parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
If you happen to have saffron in the pantry, a pinch crumbled into the pan when you add the stock and tomatoes is lovely, but the dish is great without it. I use plain old jasmine rice, if you happen to have Calasparra paella rice by all means use it, but any long grain rice will be fine.
Since the first time I made this I have come across a wonderful New Zealand smoked paprika, from Orcona, based in Napier. I was lucky enough to attend the Monteiths Cheesefest last week, showcasing all the delicious cheeses we are lucky enough to enjoy in this country. More on that in my next posts. Also at the event were all the winners of the Cuisine Artisan Awards for 2011. Among some really fantastic products I tasted was the Orcona Harissa Paste, stirred through yogurt as a dip. Completely delsih, with a wonderful kick, I was pleased to find their smoked paprika also. It is perfect in your paella, so if you see some buy it!