When I want a comforting but light meal packed with my favourite seafood, smoky flavours and wholesome veggies, I turn to my old friend the paella. It's a great one to make for friends and family too, since you can make a big pot of it and be as adventurous as you like with your choice of shellfish, chorizo or just simple tasty vegetables.
When british cookware brand Tower Housewares kindly offered to send me one of their products for review, I instantly went for a pressure cooker. It's a piece of kitchen kit that you don't see very often these days and is something that Tower pride themselves on producing.
I can honestly say that iI would never have considered bringing a pressure cooker to the kitchen before and would surpass any recipes that required one. However, it's definitely one of those things that once you start reading about the benefits you discover the reason it's stood the test of time. This one is their 4l aluminium pressure cooker which features a quick click lock, bonded steel base and steamer basket. Not forgetting a generous 10 year guarantee.
The style of pressure cooking means that no healthy vitamins will escape from the intense pressure within, whilst the speed means you can potentially use less energy on the hob too. That said, I also find it incredibly unnerving that you don't know how your food is getting on beneath that super shiny lid. With things like risottos and paellas, I like to have a little peek, stir and a taste as it's cooking away.
So what will you need...
(makes two large portions)
(makes two large portions)
♥ 120g paella rice
♥ one red onion
♥ vegetable stock
♥ 2 tbsp paprika
♥ 1 tbsp mild chilli powder
♥ 2 garlic cloves
♥ one red pepper
♥ 100g cooked king prawns
♥ 100g spanish chorizo
♥ 100g mussels
♥ 2 tbsp frozen peas
♥ salt and pepper
Step one. Chop up your onions, garlic, pepper and chorizo and get your vegetable stock ready. The amount of stock you need will depend on your pressure cooker, as it will need to cover the ingredients by at least an inch.
Step two. Lightly cook the onions and garlic in the pressure cooker on a medium heat.
Step three. Add in the paella rice and toast with a pinch of the paprika.
Step four. Mix in the chorizo, prawns, red pepper, rest of the stock, paprika and chilli powder. leave the peas and mussels out for the moment.
Step five. Secure the lid on the pressure cooker and turn up the hob. When the red button or similar indicates the pressure is at its highest, cook for 20 minutes.
Step five. If you are adding mussels you might want to cook these separately like I did. These were live mussels from the fishmongers in Loughborough market and so I steamed them for ten minutes in a saucepan as per these instructions.
Step six. After twenty minutes, take the paella off the heat and carefully allow the pressure to release until the cooker allows you to open the lid.
I have to admit that there may have been too much liquid at this point, but I was pleased that the opposite hadn't happened and it dried out.
Step seven. Add the peas and allow to defrost for five minutes as you stir though. If like mine, the paella still has lots of liquid then simply let it reduce down.
Step eight. Serve with the mussels scattered on top.
I was actually really pleased with the results and how much the flavour had infused into the rice in such little time. The prawns had shrunk considerably and I was worried they had become chewy, when actually both the prawns and chorizo were incredibly tender and delicious. Watch this space for more pressure cooker recipes...
note: i was sent the pressure cooker for purposes of review and all opinions are honest and my own.