Broad bean & chorizo paella

Broad bean & chorizo paella

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

You can cook a paella over the gas hob in the kitchen, but cooking paella over the flames – well, it’s a whole different story. It’s more fun – or that’s my take on it anyway. If you asked a Spaniard how to cook paella, I’m sure they’d insist it’s a fireplace process and gas is a no-no. I’m not really fussed – I reckon these beliefs about how food should be cooked develop into rules, and I deplore rules. I’ve cooked paella both ways and I prefer cooking it outside over the hot flames and coals, but it’s just a personal thing. Sure, it may give the meal a little smoky flavour and the rice on the bottom, if cooked right, develops a nice even crust. But really, who’s going to tell the difference? You’d have to be a real purist to tell one from the other.

The way I cook paella over a fire is to get the heat up for at least an hour before I cook. This makes a good base of hot coals and constant heat, and it allows for a bit of vino refuelling. You won’t find a ‘paella’ pan at your local camping store, but you probably will find a tripod frying pan for cooking eggs and bacon over a fire. It’s practically the same deal.


Quantity Ingredient
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
300g My chorizo, sliced
725g tomato passata
500-800g broad beans, boiled and peeled
handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons smoked pimenton
1.5 litres Home-made meat stock
or 1.5 litres Home-made veg stock
400g bomba paella rice
135g manchego, grated
goat’s feta, to serve
1/2 lemon, to serve


  1. When the fire has died down and the frying pan is at medium heat, add a generous glug of olive oil and sweat the onion, leek and garlic for 10 minutes. You don’t want these to cook too hot and fast. A slower, gentler cook seems to get the sweetness out of the onions. If it’s looking too hot, splash over some water to cool it.
  2. Add the chorizo, passata, broad beans, parsley, pimentón and stock, and add a little bit of wood to the flames to bring the paella to a gentle simmer. Add the rice and stir evenly through the liquid.
  3. Finally, spread over the manchego then sit back and wait. It normally takes about 30 minutes, but every fire is different, so it’s a good idea to check a little bit of rice. If it’s too crunchy it needs more time, if soft it may well be ready. Oh, and if you think your fire is too hot, you can just add a bit of water to the brew, which will also help cook the rice.
  4. Serve with feta crumbled over the top and a squeeze of lemon.
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