The Jellied Eel magazine is holding a "Love Your Local Sausage" competition, together with London Farmers' Market, to find our best local banger. The ones nominated for Pimlico Farmers' Market (which I work at) are Downland Pig's Breakfast Maarmalade, your traditional fat pork sausage with a hint of sweetness, and 12 Green Acres'' Cooking Chorizo, a wonderful British substitute for the famous Spanish sausage. I'm excited for them, and Cheryl from the market has also asked if I can try to share some kind of recipe involving sausage, in the spirit of this event.
I did this paella a few weeks after I came back from Spain, because I was kind of missing the sun there, and I've got Spanish goodies from the trip that I wanted to use up, e.g. the vintagey-designed pretty tin of paprika sitting on my table. I didn't have chorizo then, and because it's the dead of winter and I try to eat seasonally, there were no peppers or fresh tomatoes or green beans or peas. Instead, I made use of what I had on hand, Chinese sausage lap cheong (a traditional sweet cured chorizo-style sausage), mussels, onions, canned tomatoes and lots of fresh parsley. Of course, this would be a brilliant recipe to try the Cooking Chorizo with, so you can give it a go with that!
Winter Paella with Chinese Sausage and Mussels
200g of paella rice
1 onion, chopped
1/2 can of tomatoes (400g tin)
500ml of stock i.e. water i.e. the reserved mussels cooking liquor
1/2 chinese sausage (or cooking chorizo)
500g fresh mussels
pinch of saffron (the most expensive thing by weight in my house currently)
1 tsp smoked paprika
unrefined sea salt, to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
chopped fresh parsley
1. Clean the mussels, scrub well and remove the beard. Throw away those that don't close after tapping, they're dead. Add mussels to a pot, add cold water, and cover and bring to a boil. Cook until the mussels open, it takes only 3 min or so. Drain, discarding those that don't open. To make your stock, just add the saffron strands to the hot reserved cooking liquor and let infuse.
These were mussels from the Jennings at the farmers' market.
Mussels is another seafood we should eat more of, it's cheap and sustainable and yum.
2. Add the chinese sausage to a hot shallow frying pan (mine was about 12" wide for that number of servings) and let it cook till lightly charred and the fat oozes out. Drain and set aside.
I know people just add the chorizo after the sofrito but I like to get the lap cheong-flavour-infused lard out from the first.
3. The all-important sofrito. Add the olive oil to the fat and sweat the onions, then add the canned tomatoes and paprika and keep frying till it reduces to a thick paste and becomes darker in colour.
4. Add the rice and stir for a couple of min till well-coated. Now add the stock, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Make sure the rice is spread out well i.e. all under the surface of the liquid. Leave it alone and DO NOT STIR (it's the opposite of risotto). You want a crust "soccarat" to form at the bottom.
6. When all the liquid has been absorbed, arrange the mussels and chinese sausage artistically over the rice. Cover the pan with foil and turn off the heat, and let the rice finish steam-cooking, for about 10 min.
7. Serve straight from the pan with a big squeeze of lemon and scatter of parsley.
This easily cured my winter blues. They say one eats with the eye before the mouth, and just looking at all the colours made me think of summer and sunshine! It wasn't the usual proper summer paella, but the deliciously greasy and savoury chinese sausage, the sweet mussels, the fresh fragrance of parsley made up a beautiful substitute. The star of the show however, is ,of course, the rice, dyed a happy golden yellow and plump with all the flavours from the mussel stock, paprika, saffron, tomatoes and sausage.
The chinese sausage added a sweeter dimension to the paella, kind of like chinese claypot rice, but sub with the chorizo for a more authentic spanish feel. Oh and Londoners, please go have a little wander around the farmers' markets and vote for your favourite sausage(: The contest ends in about 3 weeks time. You stand a chance to win prizes too including a meal for two at a top London restaurant and a bag of the top 5 bangers (!!!)
I'm submitting this to Simple and in Season hosted by Ren of Fabulicious Food!