We love woodfired paella – it really reminds us of our trips to the Alpujarras in southern Spain where we’ll undoubtedly cook it outdoors in the olive groves over fire with the group we’ve taken.
Paella doesn’t have to be fishy – there in the mountains we cook it with rabbit and chicken but this one is full of fish and seafood. It doesn’t really matter what you use for the fish, whatever the fishmonger has that’s good; here we’re using haddock and prawns but see later for alternatives. Make sure you check out the video too!
Woodfired Paella – Ingredients
4tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, peeled and very finely sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded, deveined and very finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Good pinch saffron soaked in 2tbsp boiling water for 10 minutes
300g risotto or paella rice – paella rice is easy to get in supermarkets now
1tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 glass dry sherry or white wine – about 150ml/5fl oz
600-900ml/1-1½ pints chicken, fish or shellfish stock
450g fish fillet (net weight) – boned, skinned and cut into 2.5cm chunks – we used haddock
12 raw tiger prawns, shells on or off, whichever you prefer
2 lemons, each cut into 6 wedges
Salt and pepper
Woodfired Paella – Equipment
Deep wide pan to cook the paella in – we used a Le Creuset one but aren’t bothered if it discolours; if you are bothered then use a cast iron or steel pan.
Woodfired Paella – Method
- Heat a large wide paella pan (or similar) in the oven and when it’s hot, add the oil.
- Add the onion and pepper and season well. Cook the veggies in the oven for 2-3 minutes until they are starting to soften.
- Stir in the garlic, saffron and its soaking water and the smoked paprika. Season well and pour in the wine or sherry and bring to the boil. Be careful as the alcohol may catch fire. Reduce the liquor until there’s almost nothing left. Then stir in the rice and enough stock to cover the rice by 1cm.
- Put the pan back in the oven and cook uncovered until the rice is tender and the stock has all been absorbed. If necessary, add some more stock if the first lot has been absorbed but the rice isn’t quite ready.
- Finally nestle the fish, prawns and lemon wedges into the rice; cook for 4-5 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the prawns have turned pink. The flames should be burning round the top of the wood fired oven so that the fish is grilled slightly from above and the finished paella will taste slightly smoky – delicious!
- Serve at once with some green salad and some good bread on the side.
Woodfired Paella – Alternatives
Try different kinds of fish – monkfish, hake, John Dory
Try different kinds of seafood – mussels, squid rings, clams
Add some meat – chicken thigh, chorizo sausage
This is perfect summer eating so hope you enjoy cooking your woodfired paella – do let us know how you get on.
David and Holly