The Spanish almost didn’t get a mention in this book, but the cult status of paella saved the day!
Catering and kitchen shops sell a type of fireproof steel pan that is perfect for the preparation of this dish, so perfect in fact that this pan is widely referred to as a ‘paella pan’. Paella actually means ‘pan’ and this is where the name of the dish comes from. You will also need this pan for steak flambé and Bratkartoffeln, both dishes in Fireworks. Failing that, any normal cast-iron pot also does the job.
What you need (feeds 8)
8 chicken pieces (thighs and/or drumsticks)
2 kg shellfish (in the shell – like black mussels and prawns. If you’re using just meat without shells, 1 kg is sufficient.)
500 g fresh fish fillets (cut into blocks)
250 g spicy cured sausages (sliced or chopped – like chorizo or pepperoni)
2 tots olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 peppers (chopped – green, red or yellow)
2 cups rice (uncooked)
2 garlic cloves (crushed or chopped)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
4 tomatoes (chopped)
3 cups fish, chicken or vegetable stock (3 cups is 750 ml which is also the size of a wine bottle)
½ cup black olives (pitted)
250 g peas (they come in frozen packets of this size)
1 cup white wine
1 tot parsley (chopped)
salt and pepper
Please note that as with most dishes cooked on a braai, paella ingredients are not exact. Take these ingredients as a guideline.
What to do
In a large pan on the fire, fry the onions and peppers in the oil for 3 minutes. Your coals should be just hot enough to actually fry the onion. As the steel of the pan is much thinner than a cast-iron pot, it will be a bit more sensitive to heat.
Add the rice and mix well. All the rice should be thinly coated with oil. If this is not the case, add a bit more oil. Fry the rice for a few minutes until it turns pale golden in colour. Now add the garlic, paprika, turmeric, chilli powder and chopped tomatoes and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add the stock and cover the pan with a lid or with tinfoil. The rice should now cook until soft, which will take about 35 minutes in total. Slightly reduce the heat under the pan by scraping away some coals. You are allowed to lift the lid now and again to stir the rice, and to monitor that it is not burning. Should everything seem a bit quiet, scrape a few extra coals back under the pan. After 20 of those 35 minutes, add the seafood, spicy sausage, olives and peas to the pan. Stir it in and cover the pan again. The seafood will cook in these last 15 minutes.
Monitor your liquid level and add the wine if the pan becomes dry. If the wine is in and the pan still dry, start adding small amounts of water. On the side, and timing it to be ready with the rest of the dish, braai the chicken pieces in a grid over coals. This will take about 20–25 minutes. When the rice is soft, sample the dish and add salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the chicken pieces on top, garnish with parsley and lemon wedges, and serve immediately.
Michael’s wine recommendation – click here
Jan Braai is a national treasure. Jan has braaied with thousands of South Africans, almost every day since the launch of his National Braai Day initiative in 2005. And he knows what people want to know about braaing. Fireworks, a reprint of Jan’s first book which sold over 50,000 copies, is now available in soft cover. More than a recipe book – it is an instruction manual for braaing – from steak, to the perfect braaied chicken and lamb chops. For the adventurous you could try Jan’s rack of lamb or lamb on a spit! His Jan Braai vir Erfenis is a Kynet series which has run each year since 2011, is currently running for at least the next three months. Fireworks is one of the top 3 Braai Books in the world, so says Gourmand Awards 2014. Click here to go to his website.