Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Jacob Rawcliffe - Paella

Sorry about the delay everyone. Will hopefully get back to being a bit more regular. Jacob Rawcliffe is a Leeds-based act who recently came second in the national finals of Tickled Pig.

I'm not a cooker. In any way. I don't really know what they're meant to be called. As such, I can't make any useful or practical foods – but I can make paella. Paella is massively lovely, but for a poor, bewildered student like myself, it often feels like a debauched extravagance. As such, it is best enjoyed by smearing it all over your face, pouring on some “wine” and weeping (this is my only culinary technique – tears are an adequate substitute for salt).

N.B. Some terminology may not be accurate.

Making-Bits (serves 4ish)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 chopped and empty red pepper
3 tabs oil (vegetable, I suspect. Virgin if there's one to hand; crude if nothing else)
8oz (225g) long grain rice (or paella rice if you're feeling special, just shit rice if not. It doesn't really matter)
A pinch of turmeric
1 pint chicken stock
Salt and pepper
8oz (225g) cooked chicken cut into strips (I recommend actually cooking some chicken yourself as the pre-cooked stuff is a bit shit in this tasty dish)
4 oz ham, sliced and chopped (this is the only time breaded ham is bad, so anything but that)
Some chorizo - depends on size, a few slices if sliced, a rough-hewn hunk if you're using the real deal.
4oz (100g) frozen peas
2 tomatoes, peeled and quartered (dip whole in boiling water then cold water to loosen skin, then chop)
4oz (100g) cooked peeled prawns
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

To be honest, almost all of the veg/meat is optional. You can pretty much throw anything you want in there, but through various tinkerings I've found the above to be the nicest combination.

In a large frying pan, fry the onion, garlic and pepper in the oil for a few minutes until soft. The pan is surprisingly important. Depending on how many people you're making it for, you can end up with a hell of a lot of stuff in that pan, so much sure it's a big 'un!

Add the rice, and stir until lightly fried and grains are transparent (a couple of minutes). This is the risky stage – there is a very fine line between lovely, soft, see-through rice and a hideous, charred mess. Pay attention!

Stir in the turmeric, stock, salt and pepper and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Cover with a pan lid or similar and just give it a cursory stir every now and then (remember the rice crimes).

Add all the remaining ingredients and cook, covered for a further 5 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. If it's looking a bit barren, top it up with a little bit more water – again, not massively important.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley (N.B. This makes literally no difference) and serve. Bon apetit!


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