Paella to feed a crowd

When you ever get the chance to make paella for a large group, don’t be afraid and just go for it. Rent the largest paella pan you can find and head out to the stores and get all the ingredients to feed your crowd!

Just don’t let the hungry ones make you feel rushed – the paella is only ready when it’s ready.

Ingredients: (for 25-30 people)

  • 3 kilos of king prawns, you can leave the head and shell on
  • 1 kilo of small prawns
  • 500 grams of spicy chorizo, chopped in small cubes
  • 300 grams of pork belly, chopped in small cubes
  • 10 chopped onions
  • 2 whole garlic bulbs, sliced
  • 10 bell peppers (red, green and yellow), diced in small cubes
  • 2 kilos of small squids, cleaned and cut in rings
  • 1 kilo vongole or Venus shells
  • 1 kilo cockles
  • 3 kg of paella rice
  • 4 pinches of saffron
  • Half a bottle of white wine
  • 1 kilo of frozen green peas
  • 4 table spoons of pimenton de vera (smoked paprika powder)
  • Chicken or fish fond/caldo, as much as the rice needs to get cooked, around 5-7 liters
  • 1 kg of canned chopped tomatoes
  • 5 lemons, cut in small wedges
  • Parsley, finely chopped
    Duration: 60-90 minutes

Preparations:

  • Cut all the ingredients and leave them in the fridge until needed
  • In a large pan, heat some olive oil and put the vongole and cockles in it, along with 2/3 of the white wine. Cover with a lid and cook until the shells are open, stirring every now and then. This should take no more than 5 minutes. Remove the shells from the pan, discard any shells that did not open and save the cooking liquid, as it is full of flavors
  • Put the saffron in the remaining amount of white wine and leave it to soak until needed
  • Heat olive oil in the large paella pan, and gently fry the king prawns and prawns until cooked and colored on all sides. Remove the prawns from the pan
  • Add some more olive oil to the pan and add the chorizo and pork belly. Fry until colored on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the onions, garlic and bell peppers, and fry for another 10 minutes
  • Add the paella rice and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring to ensure that every rice grain is covered with a small layer of olive oil
  • Add the pimento de vera and fry for another minute
  • Now add the tomato cubes, saffron with wine, green peas, cooking liquid from the shellfish and the first batch of fond/caldo
  • Keep adding caldo until the rice is cooked, this can take around 30-40 minutes in a pan this large. Stir once in a while – in real paella, the bottom is slightly crispy, but this is difficult to achieve with a pan this large
  • When the rice is almost cooked, add the chopped squid and shells, and stir so that the squid gets cooked
  • Season with salt and black pepper
  • When the rice is ready, turn off the heat, and try to let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving

Serve:

When you’re having a feast like this, decoration is everything. Place the grilled prawns and slices of lemon on the paella as if it were a painting. Finish with the chopped parsley and tell your guests to serve themselves some food from heaven – and to squeeze the lemon on their paella before eating

What to drink with this?

If it is a very hot day, I would suggest a Spanish white wine such as the Rueda or Verdejo. In Spain however they also drink red wine when it is very hot (and who can blame them…) so if you’re more into reds, please treat yourself with a good Temperanillo!

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