Beachside paella

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
10 to 30 mins

Serves 6

From Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
  • 75g chorizo (we like picante) skinned and cut into 5mm/¼in slices
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, quartered, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, quartered, deseeded and sliced
  • 150g/5½oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 2cm/¾in lengths
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 good pinches saffron threads
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 175g/6oz paella rice (medium-grain rice)
  • 1 litre hot chicken stock, made with 1 chicken stock cube
  • 500g/1lb 2oz live mussels, well scrubbed and beards removed
  • 1 medium squid, cleaned and sliced into rings or 225g/8oz prepared squid rings
  • 12 raw king prawns, peeled or shells on, thawed if frozen
  • flaked sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges, for squeezing


  1. Heat the oil in a 38cm/15in paella pan – ideally non-stick. A paella pan is best, but if you don’t have one, use a very wide, shallow non-stick saucepan, flameproof casserole dish or sauté pan.

  2. Place the pan over a medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and black pepper and fry them for about five minutes, turning every now and then until lightly coloured. Add the chorizo and cook for 30 seconds more, turning once. Transfer the chicken and chorizo to a large heatproof bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan.

  3. Add the onions to the pan and fry gently for 4–5 minutes until softened and very lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and green beans to the onions and cook for two minutes until they are beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic, smoked paprika, saffron, bay leaf and rice and cook for 1–2 minutes until the rice is glistening all over.

  4. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan, along with any juices. Stir well, then pour in the chicken stock and season with black pepper. Stir once or twice and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Tip the mussels into the partly cooked rice mixture and stir once more, making sure they are well tucked into the hot rice and steaming liquid. Return to a simmer and cook for three minutes or until most of the mussels have opened, stirring occasionally.

  6. Scatter the squid and prawns over the top of the paella and stir well. Continue cooking for 4–5 minutes until the squid and prawns are cooked, the rice is tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed. The prawns should be completely pink when cooked.

  7. It’s important not to keep stirring after the squid and prawns are added – you want the rice to become lightly browned and a bit sticky at the sides of the pan as this adds flavour. Keep an eye on the heat though, as you don’t want the rice to burn. Add a splash more water if the paella begins to look very dry before the rice is ready. Pick out any mussels that haven’t opened by the end of the cooking time and chuck them away. Serve hot with lemon wedges for squeezing.