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Speedy Spanish Paella

Ahh, to be sat, Sangria in hand, looking out across the Balearic Sea, soaking up some Spanish sunshine! Whilst holidays may seem a little far away given the current travel bans and lockdown, you can always bring a little slice of Spain into your own Casa by cooking up this Speedy Spanish Paella.

image courtesy of Getty via The Telegraph Travel
image courtesy of Getty via The Telegraph Travel

What makes it so speedy?

Ok, as you can see below this paella still takes around an hour to make. This is a LOT faster than a real authentic paella would take to cook. The word "paella" actually means frying pan and is traditionally cooked in a large, shallow, wide-based frying pan, typically with two handles. If you've ever been to a food market, or happen to have a local park/green space which hosts food stalls, then you will most probably have seen the Paella pans and they are HUGE. You can get smaller, family-sized ones but these are generally not something everyone has at home. (Links at the bottom of the page if you are interested in buying yourself a pan!)

Paella originates from Valencia, Spain and is traditionally cooked with fresh, raw meats and fish, which are transferred in and out of the pan whilst cooking so that the juices remain in the pan.

Obviously, the most authentic way to cook this dish would be in a paella pan, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients; however, you can make this paella just as delicious and in about half the time by using an ordinary wide-based frying pan with a lid (but you can also use tin foil) and some time-saving, pre-cooked ingredients. I would suggest you roast your chicken breasts in the oven for 25 mins, rather than buying a pre-cooked pack of chicken, but either is fine.

The last thing to mention before you start is that from step 4 you should not stir the pan. Spanish nationals and true foodies will all tell you that a truly delicious Paella is topped with the crispy, and flavour-packed scrapings from the bottom of the pan. Ideally, you should just shake the pan to jostle it around so it doesn't burn but not stir it so you can create that crisp bottom layer.

Speedy Spanish Paella

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50 min


1 Large White Onion (diced)

1 Red Pepper (deseeded & sliced)

300g Paella Rice (or arborio)

2 Litres Chicken Stock

1 Chorizo Ring (skin off & sliced)

2 Cooked Chicken Breasts (sliced or diced)

125g Cooked King Prawns

200g String Beans (cut into 2cm chunks)

Pinch of Saffron

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

2 tsp Paprika

3 Garlic Cloves (crushed)

1 tsp Tomato Paste

1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

Salt & Pepper for seasoning

Garnish with a wedge of lemon (essential!) and a sprinkle of fresh coriander (if you like!)


  1. In a large, hot frying pan, brown the onions and peppers

  2. Add the garlic, tomato paste, spices and chorizo to the pan and cook until the chorizo just begins to colour

  3. Add the tin of tomatoes & stock and simmer for 10 minutes

  4. Add the rice and give the pan a thorough stir. From now on you should NOT stir the pan

  5. Add the chicken, prawns & beans and simmer for 15-20 more minutes until the rice is cooked. The rice at the edges takes the longest to cook, so this is where you should taste it. It should be soft, with a little bite to it

  6. Turn off the pan and cover with a lid or foil and leave to stand for 5 minutes to soak up any remaining liquid

  7. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a sprinkle of fresh coriander

You can also add mussels or calamari to your paella, make just a meat-based one, seafood paella or vegetarian version.

If you would like to buy yourself a Paella pan, you can try these:

and remember, anyone can cook!


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