Did you know that rice is a staple for around two-thirds of the world’s population? It is an excellent source of energy, providing carbohydrates and more proteins than any other grains. Not only is it low in fat, it is also cholesterol and gluten-free. In our household, we eat rice 3-4 times a week. Not only do we prefer it to potatoes, we also find it much more versatile. There must be millions of permutations of rice dishes but this is one of my favourites, based on the Spanish paella. It is in fact a simplified paella using store-cupboard ingredients. Since it is a complete meal, I find that I don’t need to serve it with anything else apart from wedges of lemon. Follow it with ice-cream and some fruit for dessert.
I keep bags of prawns and squid in the freezer so they are alway handy for a quick dish like this. De-frost before use and remember never to over-cook seafood as they become rubbery and inedible! I have given a range for the amount of stock needed as it varies with how absorbent the rice is. In my experience, jasmine rice needs less liquid but basmati rice more. In any case, always start with less as you can always add more if needed.
ONE-POT CHICKEN & SEAFOOD RICE
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
50g (2 oz) chorizo, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper or 1 courgette (zucchini), diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tsp paprika
50ml white wine
250g (8 oz) rice, washed and drained
350-450ml (12-13½ fl. oz.) hot vegetable stock
1 chicken breast, diced
12 prawns, shelled and de-veined
4 squid, cleaned and tubes cut into rings
3 tbsp chopped coriander
Salt & pepper, to taste
Wedges of lemon to serve (optional)
In a wok or chef pan (with a lid), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, fry for a couple of minutes to release the aromas; then add chorizo to the pan. Fry over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the chorizo oil is released to colour the onions.
Add the peppers, fry for a couple of minutes, to be followed by the tomatoes. Next add the paprika to the pan and stir to mix evenly. Pour over the white wine, bring to boil and let bubble for a minute or so.
Next, add the rice to the pan and stir to mix it evenly, and then add 350ml of the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid, add the chicken pieces in one layer over the rice, cover the pan and cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove lid, stir the chicken pieces into the rice (both should be about half-cooked), add more stock if the mixture appears too dry. Lastly, add the prawns and squid in one layer over the rice, cover again, and cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and check that the prawns and squid is more or less cooked and stir into the rice. Increase the heat a little just so that the whole mixture is hot and steamy. Sprinkle chopped coriander over and serve straight from the pan, with a squeeze of lemon if using.