Paella with Scallops and King Prawns smoked on the barbecue
Proper Scallop and King Prawn Paella
This paella dish immediately became one of my favorite meals of all time. Considering the food Laura and I prepare, I would say that speaks volumes about how good this is.
The keys to this dish are definitely not to overcook the scallops and prawns. You do not want them getting chewy. The one single thing that sets it apart from any other paella I have had is cooking it on the barbecue and lightly smoking it during the cooking process.
I have tried to give fairly accurate measurements of ingredients below, but to be honest, just use as much or as little of everything listed as you want. And feel free to make any substitutions and additions you want. This is a very forgiving dish.
- Several tbsp olive oil
- A few chicken thighs, boneless and skinless (1 for each person)
- 4 cups paella rice/Basmati rice
- 18 – 24 large and fresh scallops (2 or 3 for each person)
- A few large and fresh King Prawns (2 or 3 for each person)
- 1 chorizo sliced
- 1 large orange for the juice and grated peel
- 800 ml fish stock (you can use veg stock or chicken stock if you really want, but that would be silly)
- 1 to 3 Table Spoons paprika (I personally can’t get too much)
- Pinch of saffron (large pinch mate, don’t skimp)
- Several cloves of garlic
- 2 large onion diced
- Lump-wood charcoal if possible, otherwise briquettes work fine
- Smoking wood (I use cherry, but anything will work – apple, hickory etc)
This recipe is made for a very large paella pan it should cover all 4 rings of the top of your oven, except we will not be using your oven for this one. I suppose if you do not have a large grill or smoker your oven would work just fine. You just wouldn’t get the flavor of the smoke and charcoal fire.
This recipe will feed a small army and their horses, so you will have some left overs I promise.
Start the fire on the grill. I use restaurant grade, lump-wood charcoal in stead of briquettes. Trust me when I say this; you need to try it if you haven’t yet. Amazing!
Get the coals proper hot and spread them around a pretty good size area. Cover as much of the area the paella pan will cover as possible to keep the heat from being to concentrated. Once the coals reaching full heat, put the pan on and let it heat up for a minute.
Put a decent amount of oil in the pan add the onions and garlic and fry off until soft and moderately caramelized.
Add the chicken and continue to cook until it is lightly browned.
With a heavy hand, sprinkle on the paprika and add the rice. Fry the rice for a couple of minutes while stirring continuously.
Add the chorizo sausage, grated orange peel and a squeeze of half the orange.
Pour the fish stock into the pan, stir it all together. At this point the pan should be about to overflow. Add a pinch of saffron, now add another pinch for good measure.
Add a few chunks of smoking wood or a couple handfuls of soaked wood chips and close the lid. For the next 30 to 45 minutes you need to keep stirring pretty regularly. I don’t leave it at all because that’s the tricky part and I don’t want it burning or sticking. Don’t worry about letting the smoke out when you open the lid. This isn’t a pork belly or briquette, all we want is a bit of that smoke flavor.
Once the rice is completely soft and cooked, add the scallops and king prawns (and any other seafood you want). Give it a couple of minutes, until the prawns are no longer translucent.
I have a tendency to just cook mine as a big mess, as you can see from the picture. If you have a large table and want to present the dish to a dinner party, when you start adding the chicken, make sure you evenly space them in a circle around the paella pan. Then when you add the scallops and king prawns, spread them evenly between the chicken thighs and use prawns with the head and shell still on.