My partner recently bought me a paella pan. I’ve no idea why they bought it for me because I’ve never really thought of or discussed making paella before, but I suspect their motive wasn’t entirely altruistic due to the plethora of paella recipe suggestions that they began offering the minute I unwrapped it. However, I’m always up for trying new recipes so I thought it’d be good to try making a chicken and prawn paella in it.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘proper’ paella before, so this recipe is just my interpretation of what a traditional paella recipe normally entails, but it turned out to be very tasty and made a nice change for dinner that night. Although I made my paella with chicken breasts and prawns you could easily make a vegetarian, or even vegan, version of this by simply using a selection of low FODMAP vegetables instead, such as diced bell peppers, sliced oyster mushrooms and discs of courgette.
One question I get asked all the time is what low FODMAP stock I use because a lot of the stock cubes which are on the supermarket shelves contain onion and/or garlic. Some people who eat a low FODMAP diet can find that their systems are okay with a small amount of onion and garlic, such as the quantity found in stock cubes. However, others cannot tolerate it in their diets at all. There are a couple of options if you’re very sensitive to onion or garlic though.
The first is Massel ‘s Vegetable Stock Cubes which are completely free of onion or garlic. I’ve tried this stock and it’s quite nice and it certainly does the job well. The second option is Casa de Sante’s low FODMAP Vegetable Stock Powder which is my preferred choice because I like the background herbiness it brings to meals. It’s also officially certified by FODMAP Friendly. If you’d like, you can buy either of these options online by clicking on the names of the products.
However you decide to make your paella you’ll be rewarded with a plateful of tender grains of rice that have been gently poached in vegetable stock and are well-seasoned with herbs and spices, accompanied by juicy prawns and tender chunks of chicken breast. It certainly does Spanish food justice.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts (diced)
200g cooked prawns
100g smoked ham (chopped)
300g paella rice or long grain rice
2 fresh common tomatoes (diced)
100g red bell pepper (diced)
2 vegetable stock cubes (or 2-3 tsps of Casa de Sante’s low FODMAP Vegetable Stock Powder)
250ml white wine (optional)
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
A pinch of saffron
1/3 tsp ground pepper
600ml boiling water (possibly more)
Prepare the vegetables as directed and use the stock cubes and the boiling water to make a vegetable stock.
Heat the oil in a paella pan or a large frying pan or saucepan and cook the chicken.
Add the vegetables, rice, spices and the vegetable stock.
Cook, stirring gently all the while, and once the rice is almost soft add the prawns and chopped smoked ham. (Add more water if necessary. Sometimes it’s difficult to judge how much water rice will need.)
Cook the risotto until the prawns are hot, taste and season if necessary, and serve.