Whisking It



April 2015

Quinoa Paella

Written by , Posted in Mains


Paella reminds me of my childhood. My gran used to make a smashing version. It was the best on a lazy Sunday afternoon in summer with the whole family around the table. I decided to do a quinoa version, because, well… Quinoa! There are a few variations on paella recipes (fish, no fish, pork, no pork, and a few others), but I landed on the below ingredients because they taste good and I like to eat them. Change it up as you like, see the ‘Tips’ section below. If you have never had paella, try to disabuse yourself of the ‘fish and fowl’ weirdness that you may have, it really does work well. Enjoy, you’ll feel like you’re in Valencia!






Quinoa Paella
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  1. 1- 1 and a 1/2 Cups quinoa
  2. 4 Chicken breasts, cubed
  3. 150g pork fillet, cubed
  4. 50-100g Chorizo, sliced
  5. 1 Tin of peas, 1 cup fresh peas
  6. 3 and a 1/2 Cups chicken stock
  7. 6 Tbs dry white wine
  8. Approx. 6 tbs olive oil
  9. Approx. 50 threads Saffron
  10. Approx. 250g prawns
  11. Approx. 400g mussels
  12. 1 Red pepper, 1/2 green pepper, both seeded and sliced
  13. 1 Tin chopped and peeled tomatoes, 1 Cup chopped fresh rosa tomatoes
  14. Salt
  15. Pepper
  16. Paprika
  17. 4 Tbs parsley, chopped
  18. 3 Finely chopped garlic cloves
  19. 2 Onions, chopped
  20. 1-2 Fresh lemons for garnish/serving
  1. Heat wine and add the mussels, discarding any that don't open when tapped. Cover and steam until opened or cooked. Reserve half of the liquid and set aside the mussels and liquid separately.
  2. Briefly cook the peas and then drain.
  3. Heat about 4 Tbs oil in a paella pan or large casserole. Season the chicken with salt and paprika and fry in the oil until brown on all sides and then reserve on a plate. Season the pork with salt and paprika and fry with the chorizo until brown and reserve with the chicken.  Fry the prawns briefly in the same pan and reserve on a seperate plate.
  4. Heat the remaining oil and add the chopped onions and garlic, frying on low to medium heat until golden brown. Add the chopped pepper and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and parsley and cook until thick.
  5. Place the saffron in the chicken stock. Stir the chicken stock and reserved mussel liquid into the vegetables. Season well with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to the boil. When the liquid is bubbling, mix in the quinoa and stir once. Add the chicken, chorizo, pork, peas and shellfish.
  6. Cook over medium to high heat for about 10 minutes and then lower the heat and start to move the pan around the heat so all sides get equal heat (if the pan is big) or gently stir. Cook until the quinoa is and al dente and the paella doesn't have too much excess liquid.
  7. Arrange the mussels on top, cover with a dish towel and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes until any excess water is absorbed. Either cook a bit longer or remove some liquid if too watery.
  8. Serve immediately with fresh lemons and parsley for seasoning.
  1. Tips
  2. • Saffron is very expensive, but well worth it if you can get some.
  3. • If you're allergic to shellfish, substitute for a firm white fish.
  4. • You could also transfer the pan to the oven and ensure even heat at 190 degrees Celsius at step 6.
  5. • You can also substitute flat green beans for the peas.
  6. • For special occasions, serve with a Spanish red wine if you are so inclined.
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