This is a (slight) adaptation of the recipe from Frank Camorra of famed Movida restaurant in Melbourne in that I have substituted chicken nibbles for Frank’s confit rabbit (much easier but still delicious).
Heat 50ml olive oil in your paella pan over medium heat. Add chicken nibbles and cook until lightly browned on the outside and partially cooked through. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil together with the saffron, thyme, rosemary and chopped garlic and stir for one minute to release the flavour from the herbs and spices. Add the rice and season with two pinches of salt. Stir thoroughly to coat the rice and cook for a few minutes until the rice is slightly translucent around the edges. Add the sofrito and stir through the rice. Cook for a minute or so to allow the flavours to meld. Add the wine and stir it through for a brief moment. Next add the hot fish stock and stir through. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to the boil.
From this point onwards, do not stir the paella as the socorat (crust) needs to form on the bottom of the pan. If the flame or element doesn’t cover the base of the pan evenly, move the pan around during the cooking to allow the paella to cook evenly.
Once the paella is boiling, reduce heat so that you have more of a simmer and add the chicken nibbles, placing the pieces evenly around the pan. After 5 minutes arrange the squid on top of the rice and chicken. By now the rice will have expanded a little so reduce the heat slightly and continue to move the pan around on the heat to allow the paella to cook evenly.
When the majority of the stock has been absorbed and small holes appear between the rice (about 10 mins) place the prawns and cockles on top and allow the escaping steam to gently cook them. Cook for five minutes until the prawns are just pink and cockles have opened fully. Add the beans or peas and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat and cover the pan with foil so that any remaining stock is absorbed and the rice separates a little.
Meanwhile, quickly cook the mussels by bringing 100ml of water to the boil in a shallow saucepan. Add the mussels, cover and bring the water back to the boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and discard any unopened mussels. Drain well and place on top of the paella. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
Sofrito (Slow Cooked Capsicums, Tomatoes and Onions) Method
Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and bay leaves with a large pinch of salt to draw out the moisture and intensify the flavour. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the capsicum and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until well softened. Add the tomato and continue cooking for one hour or until rich and jam-like, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the base of the pan. Sofrito will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or you could freeze it.
Makes about 2 cups