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Prawn and mussel paella (585 calories per serve)

My mom flew down to visit me in Melbourne today and so I decided to cook her one of her favourite dishes: paella. The first time she had something similar to a paella was about twenty years ago when a good family friend from El Salvador (Aunty Anna) made ‘Spanish Rice’ which was basically a paella but without any meat toppings. This paella recipe is an adaptation from Lyndey Milan’s recipe with a twist from Aunty Anna’s Spanish rice.

Serves 10

Prep time 40 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes (stock simmering) + 30 minutes (cook time)

For the stock:
1/2 cup of olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tbsp sweet paprika powder
1/2 400g can of diced tomatoes
Head and shells of 750g of prawns (see below)
2.5L of chicken stock

For the paella:
100ml olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tbsp sweet paprika
1/2 400g can of diced tomatoes
2 small capsicum (or 1 large), diced
750g paella rice (or aborio/short grain rice)
750g prawn, de-shelled
2kg mussels
10 sprigs of parsley, chopped (to garnish)

large oven proof pan or electric wok (with even heat distribution)

Shell the prawns ensuring that you also de-vein them in the process. Set aside the prawn meat from the prawn heads and shells.

Make the stock first by heating up the oil in a large pot. Add the garlic, sweet paprika powder, and tomato over a medium heat until they become fragrant. Add the prawn heads and shell, stirring and letting it cook. Add the chicken stock, season with some salt, and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. The stock will reduce to around 2L by the time it has simmered.

To make the paella, heat up the olive oil in a large oven proof pan (or in my case, an electric wok). Similarly to the stock, stir in the garlic and tomatoes over a medium heat. Then add the rice and capsicum, stirring well until mixed through. Let the rice brown slightly for a few minutes.

Add the prawn stock prepared earlier and stir one final time before covering with a lid and letting it simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the rice becomes tender. It is important that you do not stir from this point onwards so that the rice can cook in place and achieve a crusty outer layer at the base and edges of the pan.

Meanwhile, cook the mussels simply by boiling it in some water until they open up. If you want, you can season the water with some salt but it might not be necessary as the mussels themselves retain some saltiness from the sea.

Remove the lid and place the prawn meat neatly on top of the paella. Cover and let it simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through. If using an oven proof pan, it is at this point that you can place the whole pan into a 200C preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

Check to see the edges of the paella – the rice at the edges should start to become crisp. When this occurs, top with some of the mussels, reserving the rest to serve alongside the paella. Remove from the heat and garnish with the chopped parsley.

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