The first time I ever went to Spain I was so excited to have authentic Paella. I hate to say it, but I was kind of disappointed. It seemed to me to be a big ol’ panful of rice with not a lot of much else. I needed a search party to help me find the seafood! This was my experience on several occasions, so upon my return home, I set to work to make up my own protein-lovers version of the dish. It became a favourite in our house for many years.
As my cooking and eating habits have progressed to a mainly Paleo regime, I have had to reinvent this dish once again to suit my taste buds, but I’m happy to report it’s still a winner!
Don’t eat seafood?? No problem. Change it to chicken.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying)
- 16 medium prawns (peeled and cleaned)
- 200 grams calamari
- 500 grams mussels (cleaned)
- 150 grams chorizo, sliced
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 whole cauliflower
- 5 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 1 green capsicum, diced
- Clove of garlic
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Handful of chopped parsley
- Juice of half a lemon
- Black pepper to taste
- Cut your cauliflower into florets and whizz in your trusty food processor to break it down into rice-like pieces. This only takes a matter of seconds ( you may want to do it in a few batches so as not to overcrowd your processor bowl). Set aside.
- Prepare your seafood and set aside.
- Prepare all your vegetables and chorizo.
- Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large pan and fry off your chorizo slices. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Fry off the prawns and calamari in the lovely chorizo oil left in the pan until just cooked. Remove and set aside.
- Add another table spoon of oil to the same pan, lower heat, and add your onion and garlic, and cook, stirring until onion is soft.
- Add the capsicum and tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until the tomato becomes “pulpy”.
- Add all the spices and stir through.
- Pour in the wine and stock and bring it to a simmer.
- Add in your cauliflower “rice” and tomato paste, and simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
- Throw in your mussels and cover, simmering for 5 minutes until they have opened and are cooked.
- At this point, the liquid should have reduced quite a lot.
- Throw your chorizo and the rest of the seafood back into the pot until everything is heated through.
- Discard any unopened mussels.
- Stir through the parsley and lemon juice and season with lots of freshly ground black pepper.
TIP- to save yourself a bit of time and perhaps money, there are some very good quality vacuum-packed, pre-cooked mussels on the market, available at your local supermarket. You will just have to rinse them off and pop them in the mixture along with the other seafood and heat them through. They usually come in a 1kg pack, so I usually remove most from the shells, mix them through the paella, leaving just several in their shell for presentation.