Butter bean paella

Butter bean paella

The Art Of The Larder
Mike Lusmore

Studded with butter beans, this paella makes good use of the storecupboard: rice, tinned beans and tomatoes, among others. A paella pan is ideal for this, but any wide, shallow pan will work.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 chicken legs, chopped into small pieces through the bone, (about 12 pieces in total) – or use duck if you’d rather
2 good-sized pork ribs, chopped into small pieces across the bone, (ask your butcher to do this for you)
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
a generous pinch sweet paprika
3 whole tinned tomatoes, drained of juiced and roughly chopped, (approx. 1/2 a tin)
a few strands of saffron, soaked in a little warm water for about 10 minutes
800ml chicken stock or water, hot but doesn’t need to be boiling
400g paella rice
125g peas, fresh cooked or frozen
1 x 400g tin of butter beans, rinsed and drained
lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a wide, shallow pan over a moderate heat, then add the chicken/duck and pork ribs and brown all over for about 10 minutes. When it’s nicely coloured, reserve the browned meat on a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and cook to soften for at least 5 minutes, then add the garlic, paprika, tomatoes and the saffron with its soaking water.
  3. Let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes, then return the fried meat to the pan, mixing well with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the stock or water and bring to a fierce boil, adding salt to taste (it should taste a bit saltier than you’d usually like, taking into account that the rice will absorb lots of flavour – about 1–1 1/2 teaspoons is good).
  5. Add the rice, shaking the pan so that the mixture evens out. Reduce the heat to moderate and from now on try not to stir the paella – this will help with producing the bottom crust (the socarrat) that makes for a good paella.
  6. When the liquid has reduced by half (about 10 minutes), scatter the peas and butter beans over the surface of the paella.
  7. Let the paella cook for about 20 minutes more, or until the rice is just cooked and the liquid has been fully absorbed.
  8. Remove from the heat and rest the paella for at least 10 minutes.
  9. Serve straight from the pan, scraping up the bottom bits, with some lemon wedges if you like.
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