How to make paella on the barbecue
Learn how to cook Catalan-style meat and seafood paella on the barbecue using Jen Bedloe’s easy step-by-step guide.
Jen’s tips for success
- Use the best rice you can find. I used the bomba variety from Calasparra in the Murcia region of Spain, next to the Valencia region. Rice from these areas is prized.
- Use good olive oil and good stock. It really makes a difference to the flavour. Have a go at making your own fish/shellfish stock.
- Do cook the paella on the barbecue. It might seem like a faff at first, but the social element of chatting while cooking is pleasurable and will transport you to Spain (if the sun is shining).
- Don’t rush cooking the onions and peppers. They need time to soften and develop sweetness.
- Don’t stir the rice as this will stop the famous crust (socarrat) forming on the bottom and will make the rice sticky instead.
- We tested the recipe on a gas barbecue and on a conventional gas hob, where we could control the heat. On a charcoal barbecue the cooking times may vary – the rice may cook more quickly if it’s very hot, so be vigilant.
- You can find all the ingredients you need in the supermarket or browse the wonderful Spanish ingredients at brindisa.com.
1. Chop the onions, peppers and garlic and set aside in bowls.
2. Heat the 3 tbsp olive oil in the paella pan and brown the pork and chicken all over for about 10 minutes. Set aside on a plate.
3. Add 6 tbsp of the extra-virgin oil to the pan and cook the chopped onions and green peppers for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and paprika and cook for 10 minutes more. Meanwhile heat the stock in a saucepan with the saffron.
4. Add the rice to the paella pan, stirring to coat it in the oil. Pour in the sherry and bubble for 1 minute to cook off some alcohol.
5. Pour in the hot saffron stock. Bring the pan up to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes on a medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low-medium, return the meat, poking it into the rice, then simmer for 10 minutes more.
6. Add the clams, crevettes (prawns) and half the parsley, then cover the pan with a large sheet of foil (or 2 smaller pieces). Cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove the pan and stand, covered, for at least 5 minutes.
7. Cook the padrón peppers (if using) on the barbecue (or in a non-stick frying pan with a splash of oil) until evenly blistered/charred all over, then season well with salt.
8. Put the spinach in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiled water. Press out the excess water using a wooden spoon. Mix the remaining 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil with the vinegar in a large bowl, then stir the spinach into this dressing along with the pine nuts, soaked raisins and some salt and pepper.
9. Remove the foil (if using fresh clams discard any that haven’t opened). Arrange the spinach mixture on top and scatter over the remaining parsley and the blistered padrón peppers.
10. Serve the paella with lemon wedges to squeeze over.