Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on trying delicious cuisines. Spanish chef and founder of Tapas Revolution, Omar Allibhoy, shares his secret to making a simple paella at home, as well as his favourite tipple, Sangria de Cava. As part of our fakeaway series we’ve shown you how to make the cult sausage, bean and cheese melt from Greggs, your favourite sides from Nando’s and how to whip up a katsu curry from Wagamama. This week we are adding Spanish food to our repertoire and showing you how to transform your space at home into a tapas bar and pretend you’re out at your favourite Spanish restaurant. So whether it’s a chance to sit down for an overdue date night, or round up the girls for a virtual Zoom meet up and dream of days in the Spanish sun we’ve got you covered.
What you’ll need:
- A paella pan or a deep frying pan
- 400g of chicken pieces (on the bone)
- 400g of pork cut (such as ribs or loin)
- 200g of runner beans, trimmed and cut into 2½cm pieces (frozen would work just as well)
- 100g of broad beans or fresh white butter beans (frozen or tinned could also be used)
- 1g of saffron (Turmeric is a good alternative if you don’t have any)
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 8 tbsp of olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, grated
- ½ tsp of paprika
- 2 litres of water or light chicken stock
- 500g of Spanish rice, such as Calasparra or bomba (or you can replace with risotto rice)
- 1 sprig of rosemary (dried Rosemary, Sage or Tarragon would work too)
- 2-3 globe artichokes (use tinned ones if too hard to find, or leave out)
How to make it:
- First, prepare the artichokes (if you’re using them). Trim the stalks and peel away the outer leaves so you are left with the artichoke hearts. Scrape away any furry ‘choke’ with a teaspoon.
- Wrap the saffron in foil and toast it for 30 seconds on each side in the pan over a medium heat. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Increase the heat to the maximum and season around the edges of the pan with the table salt. Wait until the pan is really hot and then drizzle with the olive oil. It should start smoking immediately; at this point throw in the pieces of chicken and pork. Fry the meat until nicely browned.
- Add the runner beans and broad beans and stir together for 1 minute before adding the garlic. Cook for 1 minute and then add the grated tomatoes, paprika and toasted saffron. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring all the time until you can see that the tomatoes have lost most of the juice and changed colour.
- Add the water or chicken stock and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing the bits of caramelised chicken and vegetable on the bottom of the pan to dissolve so you get a rich stock. If you use chicken stock instead of water, you will only need to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cut the artichokes into quarters and add to the pan.
- Add the rice, spreading it evenly over the pan and stir just once. Cook on the highest heat for about 10-12 minutes before reducing the heat right down and cooking for a further 5-7 minutes. Once you have added the rice and given it a good stir don’t be tempted to touch the pan with a spoon again. You need to keep the film that develops on the top of the stock from breaking, otherwise, the steam will escape, and the rice won’t cook evenly.
- When the water is at a lower level than the rice itself, add the rosemary sprig. If the layer of rice on the top starts to look a bit crispy, cover the pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking. This will help to steam the grains on top while the bottom gets crispy.
- Leave to rest for 5 minutes whilst you create your Tapas bar and sangria and then serve.
Psst! In Spain, this crispy bottom layer, the ‘socarrat’, is the most valuable part of the paella. Once the paella is finished, it should look like a completely flat layer of rice)
Creating the tapas bar vibe at home
Transform your kitchen, dining room, or wherever you’re tucking into your food, into a Spanish style tapas bar before you start cooking so you’re ready to sit down and eat as soon as your dish is ready. To create the perfect setting, why not light some candles or you could even dig out those fairy lights from the loft and drape them around the room for a holiday alfresco vibe. When setting the table, wrap your cutlery in red napkins and place wine and water glasses out ready. Put on those holiday clothes you’ve got stashed at the back of our wardrobe or in a suitcase or better yet, why not wear a red dress like everyone’s favourite sassy dancing girl emoji!
What about the music? Just search ‘tapas music’ on Spotify or YouTube for a selection of playlists that ooze Spanish café vibes!
Now to make a cheeky tipple – Sangria de Cava
Cava has always been a celebration drink in Spain, but with the bottles of the fizzy stuff being so affordable and available these days, Omar decided to make a sangria with it – and the result is a refreshing drink that goes down far too easily! This should help you feel transported to Spain until you can visit there again.
What you’ll need:
- 1 orange
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional if you don’t have any)
- 10 strawberries quartered
- 1 pear cored and roughly chopped
- 1 peach roughly chopped
- 200ml of brandy
- 200ml of Cointreau
- 1 x 75 cl bottle Spanish cava brut
- Fresh mint leaves
How to make it:
- Firstly, stick your glasses in the fridge or freezer so that you can enjoy your drink as cold as possible when it’s ready!
- Remove the zest of the orange in long strips. Squeeze the juice into a saucepan with the strips of zest, the sugar, cinnamon stick, the strawberries and the chopped pear and peach. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour into a jug with the brandy and Cointreau, stir with a wooden spoon and put in the fridge to chill until completely cold. Don’t be tempted to take it out too early, trust us it’s worth the wait!
- Stir the chilled mixture again and then pour 3 tbsp into each glass. Top up with the fizzy cava, serve with a mint leaf and enjoy it while it lasts!
Now that the scene is set, the paella is made, and the sangria is created all that’s left to do is sit down and enjoy your creation. Don’t forget to snap a picture of your homemade tapas bar and share with us over on our intu Facebook page.