img_0653This is a fantastic meal for sharing in the woods.  I have two sizes of pan – 46cm and 60cm, but although I estimate servings as per the instructions, there never seems to be enough paella!

Ingredients for 46cm pan (makes enough for 6 hungry people – or 8 mains/12 tapas portions according to the pan’s specifications)

  • 3 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1900ml chicken and vegetable stock (I use half – half, but it is up to you)
  • pinch of saffron
  • teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • 800g paella rice
  • 1/2 chorizo loop, sliced into half centimetre thick chunks
  • several handfuls of green beans ( I buy them frozen and put them in a lunch box to transport them)
  • Oil for cooking

I usually pack these ingredients to take to the woods the night before so that I have time to prepare the sofrito in advance.  The sofrito is just the onions and tinned tomatoes fried together to make a paste. You can make it when you are cooking the paella if you want, but I find it more convienient, quicker and less likely that things will have time to burn to the bottom of the paella pan if I make it in advance.  So, if you want to do this:

  1.  Fry off the onion in some olive oil until it is soft.
  2. Add two tins of chopped tomatoes.
  3. Continue to fry the mixture until it has reduced to a thick, dark red paste.
  4. Allow to cool then put into a lidded container.

It is also useful to prepare the following ingredients:

  • Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and put into a lidded container.
  • Put the chicken and vegetable stock cubes or powder you are using into a container with the saffron, but put the sweet paprika into a separate container.
  • Slice the chorizo and put in a container.

Pack the rest of the ingredients.

Kit list

  • Paella pan.
  • Three litres of water.
  • All ingredients.
  • 2 wooden spoons.
  • 46cm paella pan.
  • Tripod or other method of holding paella pan and stock pan over the fire.
  • Plates.
  • Cutlery.
  • Fire tongs.
  • Measuring jug (to measure the 1900ml water for stock).
  • Heatproof gloves.
  • Tin foil or greaseproof paper – enough to cover the paella pan.

When you are outdoors ready to cook:

  1. Light your fire Make the fire big and allow it to get going well and hot. Wait for it to die down to a deep, hot ember bed before starting or the paella will just burn to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Set up your method of holding pans over the fire, making sure your paella pan is going to be held pretty level.
  3. Measure 1900ml of water into the stock pan, add the stock and saffron and put on to heat.
  4. Lay out all the ingredients you have brought – everything seems to get hectic when the cooking begins.
  5. Heat the oil in the paella pan and put the chicken in to fry.  Wait till it has browned.img_0645
  6. Add the sofrito (if you haven’t pre-prepared this, push the chicken to the sides of the pan, add the onion, then when the onion is soft add the tomato and reduce to a thick dark red paste).img_0646
  7. Mix the chicken with the sofrito, paprika, chorizo and beans.img_0649
  8. Add the hot stock and note its level compared to the handle rivets on the inside of the pan, then add water until the level of the liquid in the pan rises one centimetre above the noted level. You may need to add a few more small logs to the fire now as the liquid needs to boil.img_0650
  9. Simmer until the level of liquid has dropped back to the level you noted, then add the rice carefully.  You are not supposed to stir the paella once the rice is added, so sprinkle the rice evenly round the pan, and if there is an area that has more rice than another, lift it carefully with a spoon and place it were there is less rice.
  10. Cook until the rice shows through the liquid, then reduce the heat by knocking down the embers a bit.
  11. Continue to cook until virtually all the liquid has been taken up by the rice. Listen for a popping noise as the rice on the bottom starts to carmalised (this bottom layer is called the socorrat), then after about a minute take the pan off the fire.
  12. Cover the pan tightly with tin foil or greaseproof paper and leave the paella to rest for at least ten minutes.
  13. Now it is time to serve and enjoy the paella.