The method is unorthodox, but the results are excellent and it has the further advantage that much of it can be prepared in advance. As cooked by Louisette, one of the best cooks we know. This quantity serves 8 to 10 people.
1kg white cuttlefish
1 chicken weighing about 1.5kg
1kg large mussels
20 raw frozen gambas, defrosted
1 red and 1 green pepper
5 large ripe tomatoes, skinned and de-seeded
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 chorizo (not too dry)
2 chicken stock cubes
salt and pepper
packet of Spanish paella spices
90g rice per person(Lustucru long grain coeur de récolte 10 minutes is what Louisette recommends)
Lemon wedges to serve
Cut the chicken into 10 pieces and brown quickly in a generous quantity olive oil taking care not to burn the oil, which is an essential flavouring. Remove the chicken and then brown the strips of cuttlefish in the same oil. Remove them and add the gambas which need very little cooking. When they have turned red they only need a minute more.
Put the gambas aside for decoration. Heat the chorizo in the oil but don’t cook it too much. Then take it out. By now you should have a pan of oil full of the flavours of the ingredients which have been fried in it. Soften the onion and garlic in the oil and then add the peppers cut into strips, followed by the tomatoes. When they have “melted” pour in 2 litres of water and add 2 chicken stock cubes (or use the equivalent volume of chicken stock) and the packet of paella spices.
Bring to the boil and then throw in the cuttlefish. Let it cook a little and then add the chicken. but keep the cuttlefish and chicken underdone as they will get a little more cooking with the rice.
Meanwhile clean the mussels and put them in a large pan with a minimum of water. Boil until they mussels have opened, strain the juice and add it to the stock. Use more or less depending on the saltiness and the taste of the stock. It is possible to prepare in advance up to this point.
About 30 minutes before serving bring the stock and other ingredients to the boil again and pour everything into a paella pan with the rice. Simmer slowly until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, then decorate with the mussels and gambas. Cover with aluminium foil whilst the rice finishes swelling, adding more stock if necessary. The rice should be well separated but not dry. Decorate with lemon wedges and serve.