Blue Swimming Crab with Spiced Paella Rice

Spiced tomato based Paella rice dish with chunks of blue swimming crab

This recipe, like many good recipes came from me experimenting with store cupboard ingredients and some leftover fresh ingredients. I wished to make a rice dish which was distinctly different from classic rice dishes such as risotto, paella and jambalaya. I am so happy with the results I have decided to share this recipe with you, in the hope you will give it a try.

The flavour base of the dish comes from a fried mixture of chilli, bell pepper, garlic, celery and red onion. This is softened then rice is added along with a spice mixture, this is fried and gently stirred until each grain is coated. White win is then added and cooked off followed by diced tomato flesh, stock, a little water herbs and seasoning. The rice is simmered until it has softened and the juices have almost been cooked off. For the last few minutes chunks of blue swimming crab are carefully placed on top, the steam and residual heat gently warms the crab through. Just before serving the crab is gently stirred through the rice using the back of a wooden spoon, to ensure the chunks don’t break up and get lost in the rice.

I think this dish is a real winner, its simple to cook with a simply fantastic flavour.

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Serves two people

preparation 15 minutes, cooking time 35-40 minutes

Ingredients and method

150-170g Blue swimming crab chunks (from tin)  – drain before adding to rice

2 large red chillies – remove stalk/seeds, finely dice

1 yellow bell pepper – finely diced

4 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

2 sticks celery – finely diced

2 red onions – finely diced

150g Paella rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

75ml dry white wine

6 round tomatoes – remove skin and seeds, then dice

500ml chicken stock

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chilli powder

1.5 tsp smoked sweet paprika

Pinch saffron

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

150-200ml water

2 tsp brown sugar

Generous handful coriander leaf – roughly chop, half for dish, half for garnish

Lime wedges – for garnish

Sea salt and black pepper – for grinding

 

Method: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep flat frying pan then add then chopped chilli, garlic, celery, red onion and yellow bell pepper. Fry over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.

Add the rice then add the spice mixture – 1 tsp cumin, coriander, chilli and 1.5tsp smoked paprika. Stir well until the rice, spices and fried mixture is combined and each grain of rice is coated. Fry and gently stir for 1-2 minutes until all liquid in the pan is absorbed by the rice then pour in the white wine and stir gently until it is cooked off.

Once the wine is cooked off add the diced tomato flesh, 500ml chicken stock and a generous pinch of saffron. Next add 1 tsp dried oregano, basil and parsley, 2 tsp brown sugar, 150ml water , half the chopped coriander and sprinkle of salt (not too much as there is salt in the stock) and a generous amount of ground black pepper. Gently stir, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the liquid is nearly cooked off and the rice is plump and tender. If the rice is not ready simply add an extra 50ml water, stir through and give it an extra 5-10 minutes.

Once the liquid is nearly cooked off add the crab chunks along with a little more chopped coriander, place across the surface of the rice as it simmers away allowing the steam to warm the crab through. Once the liquid has been fully cooked off use the back of a wooden spoon and very gently fold the crab through the dish. Serve with a garnish of coriander leaf and lime wedges.

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Spiced Chicken and Rice

Chicken on the bone, with paella rice, vegetables, herbs, spices and garlic mayonnaise. A true one pot wonder.

It was a little hard to name this dish and really “spiced chicken and rice” doesn’t really do it any justice. This really is absolutely delicious, if I don’t say so myself! I wanted to make a dish like paella but with a very different flavour. I am very happy with the results and cant wait to cook this again, I hope you like it too!

The dish uses chicken wings with the skin removed, cooked on the bone this gives the chicken flavour and keeps the meat moist as the dish cooks. You could substitute wings for thighs or legs, but I think wings work best.

The wings are browned in a pan before adding a mixture of onion, garlic, red pepper, celery and red chilli. This is fried until the vegetables start to soften then a little sugar, black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cumin and chilli powder is added then stirred through the vegetables. Paella rice is added and stirred through the mixture to coat every grain in the flavour base. A glass of white wine is added then cooked off, followed by some tomato paste, chicken stock and a little water. The heat is turned down and the dish is left to simmer until the rice is cooked. The dish is garnished with some freshly chopped coriander, lime wedges and a generous drizzle of garlic mayonnaise.

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 Serves two

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 35 minutes

Ingredients and method

500g chicken wings – skin and connective tissue removed

4 cloves garlic – peeled, crushed and finely chopped

2 medium sized red onions – finely diced

1 red pepper – finely diced

150g Paella rice

125ml dry white wine

1 tsp Smoked paprika

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp. olive oil

500ml chicken stock – keep hot to add to rice

175ml water – add extra if liquid cooks off before rice is ready

2 tsp tomato paste

Black pepper – to taste

Salt – to taste

3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf –  add to dish and for garnish

4 lime wedges – garnish

Garlic mayonnaise – in squeeze bottle to drizzle over dish

Method: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide deep frying pan, then add the chicken wings and brown over a medium high heat. Once chicken is browned add the celery, garlic, onion, chilli and red pepper, stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chilli powder, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tsp of brown sugar and stir through the vegetables. Next add the paella rice and stir well until each grain is coated in the spice mixture, then add a glass of wine and stir until it is cooked off. Add 2 tsp of tomato paste and stir through the rice then add 1 tablespoon chopped coriander, 500ml chicken stock and 175ml water. Gently stir through the rice, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave uncovered for around 25-30 minutes until the rice is cooked. If required you can add a little extra water and cook for longer if rice is not ready, the chicken will only get more tender and fall off the bone delicious. Before serving check the rice for seasoning then add salt and pepper to taste. Complete the dish by adding lime wedges, sprinkling coriander, then drizzling a generous amount of garlic mayonnaise over the dish.

 

Char Grilled Pepper and Butternut Squash Soup

Delicious, healthy spicy soup with grilled peppers, tomatoes and butternut squash

Soups are a speciality of mine and this is one of my best. A flavour base of garlic, red onion, white onion, carrot and chilli is fried in a little oil along with some spices. Mixed peppers are separately grilled to bring out their deep flavours. Butternut squash and tomatoes are added to the fried mixture, then the peppers, some stock and herbs.  After a short simmer the mixture is blended into a smooth delicious soup.

 

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Butternut squash and char grilled pepper soup

This recipe gives 4 large servings

Preparation 10-15 minutes

Cooking time 60 minutes

Ingredients

2 white onions – peeled roughly chopped

2 red onions – peeled roughly chopped

1 large red chilli – sliced (add extra if you want it hot!)

2 sticks celery – sliced

4-6 carrots – peeled, sliced

6 cloves garlic – peeled, crushed

1 large red bell pepper – deseeded, cut into chunks

1 large green bell pepper – deseeded, cut into chunks

1 butternut squash – peeled, deseeded, cut into small pieces

2 litres vegetable stock

3 bay leaf

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2-3 dessert spoons brown sugar (to taste)

1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

1 teaspoon crushed black pepper

6-8 basil leaves – retain 2 to thinly slice for garnish

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons olive oil

You require a hand blender, grill pan and a deep stock pot.

Get cooking

 

  1. Start by heating the grill pan, then add the peppers. Drizzle a little Olive oil over the peppers then grill, turning occasionally, for approx 10 minutes. You want the peppers to blacken and soften to bring out their deep flavours. Once cooked remove from the grill pan and set aside to add to soup later.
  2. Now heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the stock pot over a medium heat. Once hot add the garlic, chilli and bay leaf and fry them in the oil, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes to help flavour the oil.
  3. Next add the sliced celery, carrot, red onion and white onion. Keep on a medium heat and stir fry for 7-8 minutes until the mixture softens. Add a little extra olive oil if the mixture starts to stick to the pan- colour is fine but you do not want the flavour base to stick to bottom of pan and burn as this will be effect the flavour.
  4. Next add the butternut squash and the grilled peppers, stir well. Add  a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Stir and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Then add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, half teaspoon ground coriander and half teaspoon dried oregano. Stir well and fry for 3-4 minutes. It is vital not to burn the spices so if the mixture sticks to pan add a little water to loosen it.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well and allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  7. Next add the stock and stir well – make sure you scape all the residue on the sides of the pan into the stock as they give flavour to the soup. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes, remove lid and stir well. If you can remove the bay leafs, and scrape any residue on the pan sides back into the soup.
  9. Use a hand blender to form a smooth soup, alternatively transfer to a glass blender or food processor to do the same.
  10. Serve in large bowls and garnish with a little sliced basil leaf. Enjoy!