Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Brown Rice Paella

I love Paella, but finding a hundred percent halal version is pretty hard.
So I make my version, which I'm sure is by no means like the real thing, I just read about a million different versions of the recipe and adapted it to my tastes as such it satisfies my cravings so I'm happy :)
It took me four days to find the time to write this post so I hope you enjoy it :D

I use brown rice (a) because I have it at home and (b) because real Paella rice is hard to find. I use the Riviana brand long grain rice because it doesn't turn to mush when fully cooked the way that medium grain can. Be warned though, as this is a brown rice version it takes a long time to cook, so give yourself at least a two hour lee way if you are going to attempt this recipe

Also I use a wide French Oven for this recipe, both because I don't have a Paella pan and because it helps cook the brown rice faster whilst also sealing in the flavours.

The last time I made this, I invited my brother and his wife, but there was enough left over the next days lunch, so expect to have enough for at least 4-6 people comfortably. Also I like my meals with heat so i use a lot of chillies so feel free to add less if you are not as adventurous

A nice halal liquid stock is the Massel brand one. I use the salt reduced version as that way I get more control over final flavour.
Looking for halal chorizo? Try the butcher in Chullora "Chullora Meats", directly opposite the Woolworths in Chullora marketplace. All their meat is hand slaughtered so you have peace of mind there too.

I use a non-alcoholic grape juice for recipes that call for wine. Here is the brand I used. "Fronti Sparkling Grape Drink".

1 large brown onion or 3 small ones chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
1 inch ginger
5 cloves of garlic
2-3 small red chillies
4 cups brown rice ([I use a rice measuring cup] I also will soak the rice in boiled water for at least an hour if I have the time but it is not necessary, [but remember to drain the rice before using it if you do soak it]).
5-6 saffron strands
1 litre chicken stock
2 small to medium tomatoes chopped
3 big chicken thighs cut into wedges at least about 1-2 cm's wide and 4-5 cm's long
4 chorizo sausages sliced
Large handful of pitted olives
300-500g frozen prawns (add to taste)
2 long chillies
2 large handfuls of green beans sliced on the angle
Handful of fire roasted capsicum sliced

Heat the French Oven and add the oil once it is hot, coat the surface evenly (add a little extra oil if necessary).
Sauté the onions till they are well browned (stir often to avoid them sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Blend or crush the ginger, garlic and small chillies as you are waiting for the onions to brown.
Add the processed mix to the onions and brown for a few minutes longer then add rice.
Once rice is starting to brown, add saffron strands and cover in enough stock to cover the rice. Bring to the boil then cover the french oven with its lid and reduce to a simmering heat.

Leave covered for at least 10-15 minutes till stock reduces. Remember to keep stirring to avoid rice sticking to the pan. Alternate between stock and water, continuing to allow liquid to reduce till rice is half cooked (at which point reduce out stock completely) make space at the centre of the pan and add tomatoes.
Cook till tomatoes start to break down, add chicken to the tomatoes, cook till well browned, then add chorizo. Once meat has a nice colouring to it mix with the balance of rice once and add enough grape juice to cover the rice and sauté till liquid evaporates. Add olives and incorporate with the other ingredients.

Add remaining stock and replace lid till rice is cooked (not mushy).
Once rice is cooked (will take at least an hour if not a further 20 minutes to half an hour [total cooking time]) on a medium simmering heat with brown rice. At this point add the prawns, green bean, long chillies and capsicum. Once the prawns and nicely cooked through, cook out most (not all) of the moisture in the dish on a high heat.

Your Paella is now ready to eat! Remove from heat and enjoy :D

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