Baked Paella

Paella is one of my favourite dishes, but made the traditional way, it can be a bit too much hassle for some people to attempt. In this version, I’ve used the technique of a baked risotto to make it incredibly simple – just pop it in the oven, leave it be (it does need a fair while in there), and it’ll come out juicy, bursting with flavour and with the most gorgeous texture.


2 chicken breasts
Half a ring of smoky chorizo
A handful of mushrooms
1 sweet red pepper
1 small onion
3 large tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
300 grams of risotto rice
1.5 pints of chicken stock
1 tbsp of turmeric
Olive oil
Salt & black pepper
Grated cheddar, to serve

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 220˚C (200˚C fan). Start by roughly chopping the tomatoes, pepper and onion, then mix together in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish (this is the dish that you will make the whole paella in, so make sure it’s big enough). Peel and finely chop the garlic, then sprinkle over the top of the vegetables with a bit of rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Once the oven is up to temperature, pop the dish inside and set a timer for 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are gently softening in the oven, slice the chicken breasts and mushrooms into bite-sized chunks, and cut the chorizo into smaller pieces. When the timer goes, take the dish out and mix in the rest of the ingredients – chicken, chorizo, mushrooms, risotto rice and a tablespoon of turmeric. Season generously, then add the chicken stock and make sure the liquid is spread evenly throughout the dish. Return the dish to the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.

When the timer goes, give the paella a really good stir, then try a little bit of rice – you should find that the rice on top is getting there but that the rice from the middle or the bottom needs a bit longer. Add more stock or boiling water (as much as you can without the dish overflowing) and pop it back in the oven for about 20 minutes. When the time’s up, stir again and try the rice from a couple of different spots to make sure it’s cooked through.

Finally, serve up with a bit of melting cheddar grated on top, and wash it down with a glass of red wine – perfect.