27 Nov 2023

Paella is the king of leftovers. Originally from Spain, this dish combines small amounts of meat, fish and vegetables – that might be left over from other recipes – all brought together with rice.

Traditionally Paella is slightly crisp and dry in the bottom of the pan so you don’t have to worry too much if the rice sticks to the base.


1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
2 ripe tomatoes
75g chorizo sausage
150g boneless and skinless chicken thigh OR breast
Black pepper (optional)
1 x 15ml spoon vegetable oil
½ x 5ml spoon turmeric
1 x 5ml spoon paprika OR smoked paprika
1 litre water
1 x low-salt chicken OR vegetable stock cube
300g paella rice
2 lemons
Small bunch parsley
1 x 160g can tuna in spring water OR 1 x 110g can mackerel fillets (optional)
150g frozen peas


Weighing scales
2 x Chopping board
2 x Sharp knife
Garlic press
Measuring spoons
Paella or large frying pan
Wooden spoon
Measuring jug
Can opener


  1. Cut the onion in half through the root and remove the outer skin. Slice as thinly as possible. Peel and finely chop or crush the garlic.
  2. Wash the pepper, deseed and finely slice into 1–2 cm pieces.
  3. Wash the tomatoes, cut in half then chop into small chunks.
  4. Using a separate chopping board and knife, chop the chorizo into 2cm slices and then slice each into 4 pieces. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with black pepper (if using).
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in the pan and add the chorizo and chicken. Cook on a medium-high heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring until the chicken and chorizo start to brown.
  6. Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook until they begin to soften.
  7. Stir in the peppers, chopped tomatoes, turmeric and paprika and cook for another 1–2 minutes.
  8. Fill and boil the kettle. Measure 1 litre of boiling water into the measuring jug. Crumble in the stock cube and stir to dissolve.
  9. Stir the rice into the pan making sure it all becomes coated with the spicy vegetable mixture.
  10. Carefully stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Once the rice is bubbling, turn down the heat a little, cut one lemon in half, remove any pips and add both halves to the pan. Simmer the rice for 10 minutes, stirring gently only once or twice.
  11. Wash and finely chop the parsley.
  12. Open the can of tuna or mackerel and drain away any liquid. Break the fish into chunks.
  13. After 10 minutes add the peas to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, by which time the rice should have absorbed almost all of the liquid.
  14. Squeeze the juice from the lemon halves into the rice using the back of the wooden spoon and stir in together with the chopped parsley. Discard the lemon shells, as they will have transferred all their flavour to the Paella.
  15. Gently mix in the tuna or mackerel (if using) and cover the pan with a lid or foil. If the liquid has all been absorbed, leave to rest for a minute or two for the fish to steam until hot. If there is still some liquid left, leave on a low heat for another 4–5 minutes.
  16. Cut the other lemon into wedges.
  17. Stir in the chopped parsley, garnish with the lemon wedges and serve.

Skills used include:
Weighing, measuring, chopping, crushing, squeezing, mixing/combining, boiling/simmering and frying.

Top Tips

  • At step 9 let the rice cook with the spices and tomatoes for a minute so that it absorbs all the flavours before the stock is added.

Something to try next time

  • For best results use paella rice. If using long grain or easy cook rice reduce the stock to 850ml, as these other kinds of rice will not absorb as much liquid as paella rice.
  • Instead of chorizo remove the skin from 2 large spicy sausages such as Sicilian, form into small balls and cook in the same way.
  • For a spicier paella add a finely chopped red chilli or ½ x 5ml spoon chilli flakes with the onions.

Prepare now, eat later

  • Paella is best eaten as soon as it is ready.
  • Cool any leftovers as soon as possible (within 1 hour), keep in the fridge and eat within 24 hours. Reheat until piping hot and do not reheat rice more than once.