After cooking this the first time round, the idea of stripping the skin from the chicken pieces and frying them to create crunchy little croutons popped into my head. I was trying to find ways to make the photograph a little more enticing, which as you can see from the photo above hasn’t quite worked. It is an improvement over my previous food photos though, so I’m learning, even if I’m not quite there yet.
By all means don’t bother making the chicken crackling if you don’t want to. It does add time and effort to the recipe, but since it’s all done in the same pan this is kept to a minimum. However, there is the issue of spitting fat to deal with, so take that into account. If you do decide to skip this step then don’t season the chicken quite so generously before you begin, and be a bit more parsimonious with the oil.
Finally as you can see there’s some massive prawns in this. I hadn’t intended to use them, but my husband had already got them out of the freezer to defrost. By all means leave them out. We usually have a bag of these in the freezer, which we buy from Sainsburys for around £7-8 for a 750g bag. This sounds like a lot, but it’s actually not as bad as it sounds, since there’s quite a few in a bag and you only have to use one or two to add a touch of luxury to your meal.
– 2-3 tbsp oil
– 8 skin-on chicken pieces, ideally thighs but any will do
– 1/2 a chorizo ring, diced (use more if you want)
– 1-2 onions, chopped
– 2 tsp smoked paprika
— 2 tsp fennel seeds
– 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 2 peppers, sliced
– 400g paella rice
– 1 ltr chicken stock
– a handful of large raw prawns, shell on or off (optional)
– 100g frozen peas
– parsley, chopped
1. Generously season the chicken pieces with salt, particularly the skin. Slosh the oil into a large, lidded shallow pan and heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown well.
2. When done, remove to a plate and leave to cool until you can safely remove the skins. I found using a fork worked well. Don’t worry about tearing them. Cut the skin into smallish pieces, and return to the pan to fry in the oil until golden-brown and crispy. Watch out for spitting fat and be very careful; do not leave the pan unattended. Remove from the fat with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on a sheet of kitchen paper (You may want to pour off some of the oil from the pan — I didn’t bother).
3. Lower the heat and add the onions. Soften for 10 minutes, then add the garlic, chorizo, the peppers, the smoked paprika and the fennel seeds and cook altogether for a few minutes.
4. Add the rice and stir well to coat with all the oil and spices. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and pour over the stock.
5. Bring it to the boil, then lower the heat and put the lid on the pan. Simmer gently for 25 minutes. Check it occasionally and give it a stir, adding more water if necessary. Then add the prawns and peas, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
6. Make sure the prawns are pink and the chicken isn’t. Serve sprinkled with the parsley and the crispy chicken skin.