When a paella is prepared for a large number of people and done on the campfire, as in this recipe, using yellow food coloring is more convenient than using saffron. Other ingredients can be added: squid, shrimp, mussels, clams, rabbit, peas or fresh baby broad beans. Substitute water with suitable broth for extra flavor.
- Heat oil in a large paella pan and add chicken pieces and cook in the pan for 3-4 minutes turning the chicken occasionally to prevent over-browning.
- Add chopped tomato and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add diced green pepper and stir. Stirring prevents overcooking.
- Add pork ribs. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the tomato is almost reduced to sauce and the meat has browned is time for the next step.
- Add the rice. It is easy to double or triple the recipe, as long as the ingredients and liquid fit in the pan. Simply measure the rice with a cup and add twice the volume of liquid than the volume of rice.
- Sprinkle yellow coloring powder over the rice. If using saffron, use mortar and pestle to crush the strands, add a little water and pour the saffron-water mix over the rice.
- Add liquid, stir briefly to mix and leave to cook. If you stir the cooking rice, the grains break liberating starch and the rice becomes sticky.
- Simmer uncovered for 15-18 minutes. The liquid is absorbed gradually.
- When all the liquid has been absorbed, the paella is ready. Recommended: cover and let it stand for 8-10 minutes.
Ideally, use a paella pan. If you don't have it, a large pan will do.
To be sure the pork ribs will be thoroughly cooked, you can boil the ribs in water with a little salt and use the liquid for the rice instead of water.
For a more flavourful sofrito and a paella with even more taste, add 1 large onion, finely chopped, shortly after adding the diced pepper and 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 2 minutes before adding the rice.
If using, small clams or mussels can be added directly to the pan or steamed beforehand; if this is the case, mix this liquid with the water to cook the rice. Estimate 1/2 lb of each.
If using shrimp, peeled and de-veined, boil briefly the heads in water and use the drained liquid to cook the rice, adding water as required. Estimate 1/2 to 1 lb of shrimp.
Add 1 can cooked peas after adding the rice if you long for more vegetables.
Garnish with strips of roasted red pepper, if wished, just before the rice finishes cooking.
Saffron gives a better flavor, but yellow food coloring will do the trick.