This is a recipe from our community and friends. Thanks to the the lovely Lucy Byrnes for the permission to share and adapt a recipe that makes her feel festive and takes her to a happy place she wants to share with us.
Lucy’s recipe feeds 4-6. It helped us see how easy is it to make paella at home to share with loved ones at all times and particularly during festivities.
- 6 chicken drumsticks & wings (around 500g)
- 75g chorizo, sliced
- 2 peppers, Lucy recommends yellow & red for the colours
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ -1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2-6 strands of saffron
- 2 pints or 1200 litre chicken or other stock (1 or 2 stock cubes depending on taste)
- 200g-250g paella rice
- 500-700g sea food you want (Lucy likes big prawns with the heads on and mussels. Use half and half)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Lemon to serve
- Salt for chicken
- Get the mussels soaking for a few hours, scrub well to remove grit and pull the beards off.
- Season the chicken with generous amount of salt. Set aside whilst you prepare the veg.
- Prepare the hot stock, add the saffron, a couple of prawn heads and a mussel or two and set aside.
- Use a paella pan or shallow cast iron pan with a lid instead.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in the pan and lightly brown the chicken both sides turning occasionally for about 5 minutes.
- Add the sliced chorizo. Cook for a further minute.
- Take the chicken and chorizo out and set aside making sure the fat stays in the pan.
- Add the chopped onion to the pan (no need for extra oil) and fry until it starts to caramelise. Add the sliced peppers and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Stir in the crushed garlic, a small amount of saffron and the rice and stir it well.
- Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan.
- Add the stock first bit at a time, then the rest of it after a couple of minutes. Stir well and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- At this point the rice probably needs between 5 and 10 minutes so you need to add the mussels.
- Cover and after 3-4 minutes add the big prawns.
- Then turn the heat off and let it sit with the lid on for 10 minutes so that the rice can soak up all the juices.
- Squeeze some lemon juice when you serve and a nice cold glass of white wine and you are sorted as Lucy says.
Lia’s Kitchen Notes
- If you have no paella rice, you can use risotto or pudding rice. Just wash once to clear some starch.
- You can add the paprika to the chicken to marinade.
- Stir fry the rice until it starts getting translucent before adding the stock.
- Once you add the stock, stir once and then cook uncovered for 15-18 min.
- In honour of the Valencian paella I like my rice slightly caramelised at the bottom. Only add the mussels in when you are sure most of the water had evaporated.
- The Spanish do not usually use chorizo but we love it as the dish It reminds us of the Creole Jambalaya, which uses long grain rice and spicy southern sausages.
- We used a ten centimetre deep pan around 25cm wide. It just about fit 3 drumsticks, 2 chicken thighs, 500g mussels and 200g prawns.
- We used chicken on the bone and with the skin on. I like crispy skin and the flavour the bone adds.
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Do you find it hard to get your little ones to tuck into root vegetable other than potato? This is a festive recipe that make everyone happy and it will use up your Riverside Market Garden festive vegetable box contents rather nicely. These oven chips are tasty, nutritious and comforting. Serve with Lia’s Kitchen beetroot and feta dip as a snack or side. They are so easy and fuss-free to make and once you try these you might never go back to deep-fried, potato chips. And as always you can sprinkle some home made dukkah on this delight – guess what …we have a dukkah recipe too.
Ingredients (snack quantity or enough for two)
- 350g parsnip, celeriac or turnip or a mix
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sweet or smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Wash the vegetable well with a brush or peel and wash.
- Chop in long chip sticks and in a baking tray toss in the thyme, paprika, salt and olive oil.
- Roast for 30 minutes in a medium oven (180 centigrade) or until cooked enough to pierce with a fork but not falling apart.
- For Lia’s Kitchen beetroot dip please see www.liaskitchen.com.
By now many of you will have travelled near or far to be with loved ones. You might be opening the doors of your home to loved guests as I write this. You might even be in full gear for the preparations of your festive dinners. I am one of these fortunate people who because of the geography of my heart I find myself in celebration at regular intervals at my various homes.
The day of ‘our Lia’ or Lia mas my own very special Cardiff celebration this winter at the start of early festive season. It was named so by loved ones when we organised a festive dinner on 10 December-my Christmas is being spent with family in Greece.
As I write this on a Christmas Eve, I can’t help but think that there has been much change this year. The world has growing pains and our transition is reflected in the hearts and minds of many. It’s scary, exciting, disappointing and exhilarating at the same time: the great unknown. Do you feel it?
Companionship, love and friendship help through any transition and to make sense of it all. And to celebrate and be celebrated is the best gift of all.
My early festive dinner was my gift: it filled our bellies with good food and our heart with warmth. I think this is the true meaning of nurturing.
I hope you all have a nurturing and warm Christmas close to those you care about and with no troubles. Love to you and your loved ones….
Our ‘Lia mas’ festive dinner consisted of roast goose with chestnut stuffing, fennel ham, roast potatoes, cumin and orange root mash, smoked paprika Brussels sprouts and a special ‘drunken’ trifle contributed by a very generous Ms Sarvani who had probably used a whole bottle of limoncello to soak the sponge fingers.
 Lia mas literally translates to our Lia in Greek.