Paella : Billingsgate style

Inspired by the Spanish Catalan region, this show-stopping paella is cooked on the barbecue for an hour until the flavours of meat, seafood, pine nuts and raisins have mingled with the saffron-spiced rice.

I came across this recipe while browsing the Waterstones at Piccadilly Circus and… fuck that. There’s no story. Just go straight to the recipe.

This recipe is easy to halve for 4 people. I recommend a paella pan but a large frying pan or sauté pan, wide enough to hold the rice in a single layer will do. Because who has the kitchen space of Nigella Lawson or Nigel Slater?

The green peppers are cooked for a long time so they’re not bitter; use sweeter yellow peppers if you prefer.

Paella : Billingsgate style

Course: MainCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Medium
Prep time




Cooking time





  • 3 large Spanish onions

  • 2 green peppers

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 400g pork tenderloin fillet, halved lengthways and cut into chunks

  • 400g skinless boneless free-range chicken thighs, cut into chunks

  • 9 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (we used Brindisa arbequina olive oil)

  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

  • 1.25 litres fresh fish stock

  • Large pinch saffron strands

  • 500g calasparra rice (or other paella rice)

  • 200ml dry oloroso or fino sherry

  • 500g Frozen Big & Juicy Delicious White Clams, defrosted in the fridge (from Waitrose and Ocado); or 500g fresh clams (discard any clams that stay open when tapped)

  • 200g pack cooked crevettes (whole large prawns) from Waitrose and Ocado or your fishmonger

  • Large bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

  • 130g padrón peppers (optional)

  • 2 x 125g bags baby leaf spinach

  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar

  • 30g pine nuts, toasted for 5 minutes in a dry pan

  • 50g raisins, soaked in about 100ml dry sherry

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  • Chop the onions, peppers and garlic and set aside in bowls.
  • Heat the 3 tbsp olive oil in the paella pan and brown the pork and chicken all over for about 10 minutes. Set aside on a plate.
  • Add 6 tbsp of the extra-virgin oil to the pan and cook the chopped onions and green peppers for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and paprika and cook for 10 minutes more. Meanwhile heat the stock in a saucepan with the saffron.
  • Add the rice to the paella pan, stirring to coat it in the oil. Pour in the sherry and bubble for 1 minute to cook off some alcohol.
  • Pour in the hot saffron stock. Bring the pan up to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes on a medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low-medium, return the meat, poking it into the rice, then simmer for 10 minutes more.
  • Add the clams, crevettes (prawns) and half the parsley, then cover the pan with a large sheet of foil (or 2 smaller pieces). Cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove the pan and stand, covered, for at least 5 minutes.
  • Cook the padrón peppers (if using) on the barbecue (or in a non-stick frying pan with a splash of oil) until evenly blistered/charred all over, then season well with salt.
  • Put the spinach in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiled water. Press out the excess water using a wooden spoon. Mix the remaining 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil with the vinegar in a large bowl, then stir the spinach into this dressing along with the pine nuts, soaked raisins and some salt and pepper.
  • Remove the foil (if using fresh clams discard any that haven’t opened). Arrange the spinach mixture on top and scatter over the remaining parsley and the blistered padrón peppers.
  • Serve the paella with lemon wedges to squeeze over.
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