Paella without the seafood...


First of all, I suppose I should apologise to paella purists, because this is not a traditional paella in any sense of the word. But a lot of people (my beloved included) don’t like the prawns and squid that should usually be part of this scrummy Spanish dish, and this is a fantastic alternative. It comes from Good to Know Recipes, a great little magazine (thanks to Laura Purt and Claire Messenger for introducing me to it!) – click here to find out more. This is also a really quick and simple dish.

In this recipe the seafood is replaced by sausages, chopped into chunks and fried in a little olive oil and some smoked paprika (I’ve mentioned this little secret weapon before, and again, I really encourage you to get some if you can, because the flavour is fantastic). Once the sausages are done, move them to a plate, save all the juices in the pan and use them to fry up onion, garlic and sliced peppers, before adding the rice and leaving it to simmer in chopped tomatoes and chicken stock, with a little turmeric added for colour, plus salt, black pepper and a bay leaf. The rice will plump up and absorb all of the savoury liquid and flavours, but make sure you don’t add too much liquid all in one go because there’s only a certain amount the rice can take in – the idea is that when it’s cooked, almost all of the juices will have been absorbed, leaving just enough to make the rice slippery. I would start off by adding just enough to cover the rest of the ingredients, and then slosh a bit more in if it starts to look too dry.

While that’s simmering, you can boil a few peas to add at the end – I’m not sure how much they added to the dish flavour-wise, to be completely honest, but they do make it more colourful and, of course, mean you’re getting another vegetable in there. Mix them into the warm, fragrant rice with the sausages and keep it on the heat for a few minutes, stirring all the while, to make sure the sausages warm through. And that’s about it – serve up a huge plateful, with a good glass of red wine.