Paella rice with chicken and langoustines
A recipe from Paella
Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking: 17 minutes
Serves: 6 people
6 young, tender artichokes
200ml (scant 1 cup) olive oil
1 x 1.5kg (3¼lb) organic free-range chicken, boned and skin removed, cut into 35g (1½oz) pieces
8 langoustines, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
200g (7oz) green beans, trimmed 6 spring onions (scallions)
500g (1lb 2oz) squid, cleaned and prepared, cut into rings
1 medium–large tomato, halved, seeded and grated, skin discarded, or finely diced
1 teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika
400g (2 cups) bomba or other shortgrain rice
1½ teaspoons saffron threads, toasted and pounded
salt and pepper
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
For a moist texture, use a 51cm (20½ inch) paella pan.
Preheat the barbecue or grill. Trim the artichokes, remove the hairy chokes if necessary and peel the stalks if tough. Slice each artichoke into quarters, and rub all the cut surfaces with the freshly cut halves of 1 of the limes. Set aside in a bowl of cold water acidulated with lime juice. Put the herb flavourings (rosemary, thyme and bay leaves) into a muslin (cheesecloth) bouquet garni bag and secure tightly. Finely grate the zest of the second lime. Set aside.
Make sure that the paella pan is completely level to ensure that the paella is evenly cooked. Heat the olive oil in the pan over low heat, and gently sauté the chicken pieces without letting them brown too much (you will need to position the paella pan at the correct distance from the heat source). Push the chicken pieces towards the edge of the pan, and sauté the langoustines gently in the centre until half cooked. Remove the langoustines from the pan and keep warm to one side, covered with aluminium foil. Sauté the garlic gently in the centre of the pan, then add the vegetables. Gently sauté until starting to soften. Push the vegetables towards the edge of the pan, and gently sauté the squid rings in the centre until they are half cooked. Push these away to the side of the pan. Add the grated tomato to the centre of the pan, and cook over low heat until thickened and reduced.
Add the paprika and cook for a few seconds more. Pour in 1 litre (4¼ cups) water, bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute over the hottest part of the barbecue or grill. Add the bouquet garni bag of herbs. Use a piece of aluminium foil folded over the lip of the pan to mark the level of the liquid. Add another 1 litre (4¼ cups) water and bring to a boil. Allow the liquid to evaporate until it reaches the point indicated by the marker (if the level of liquid falls below this, add more very hot water). Sprinkle in the rice, followed by the saffron, distributing it evenly all over the pan. Taste and season with salt if needed. Arrange the ingredients, including the langoustines, on top.
After 5 minutes, reduce the heat by removing some embers from under the pan or raising the trivet or grill rack so that the pan is further away from the heat source. Remove and discard the bag of herbs. When the rice starts to rise to the surface, reduce the heat so that it simmers very gently. Add the langoustines and finish cooking the rice, allowing all the remaining liquid in the pan to evaporate. Taste to check whether the rice is cooked: it should be tender, but still very slightly firm to the bite. If it is a little too firm, cover the paella with a clean, damp dish towel for 2–3 minutes to finish cooking. If it is much too firm, sprinkle a few tablespoons of hot water over the surface of the rice and continue cooking until the rice is tender. Allow to rest for 3 minutes before serving.