IRONCLAD LOCKDOWN SMOKED CRAYFISH, PRAWN and MUSSEL PAELLA ON THE BBQ

Serves: 6-8

What better way to spend some lockdown moments hanging out with your BBQ and a bunch of delicious ingredients, and here’s some Ironclad inspiration. A super simple but very special occasion dish to demonstrate your lockdown love! I cooked this Paella in the Weber Kettle over wood, but it will work just as well over charcoal or gas. And if you, or the weather, are not in the BBQ mood then you can always cook it inside on your cook top. *To cover the pan if cooking inside use a large pot lid. 

Traditionally Paella is made in a wide thin bottomed pan but cast iron works just as well. It’s all about creating the perfect socarrat. That delicious crunchy layer of rice that forms in the bottom of the pan.

And the trick? Once the rice is in the pan no matter the urge you must not stir! It’s all about the right amount of heat hitting the bottom of the pan at the right time. Too little and the crust won’t form. Too much and it will burn.

I built up a hot fire to sear the tomatoes and seafood on first. Imparting that BBQ flavour briefly into these ingredients adds a lovely dimension to the dish. I then sautéed all the veggies in the pan on that same heat source, adding a little more wood to the fire just before I added the rice and the stock.

If you are using charcoals, heat a full chimney starter, and scatter them in the bottom of the BBQ interspersed with an equal number of unheated charcoals. They will flare up over the cook time to provide just the right amount of heat.

I’m crazy about smoked food so I popped a tinfoil package of mānuka woodchips next to the pan once the lid went on. The result was a pile of smokey, BBQ’d seafood atop the most delicious moist saffron yellow rice. Beyond delicious.

Now, about the ingredients sourcing during lockdown. Apart from the crayfish tails, you should be able to source all the ingredients from your supermarket. And Moana New Zealand will deliver to your door ocean fresh crayfish tails. They are a succulent and super fresh treat and just a click away at moana.co.nz.

If you want to make less, use the same amount of rice and vegetables and half the seafood content. 

FIRST OVER THE FLAME

5 medium tomatoes
500 g large prawns
2 crayfish tails cut lengthwise in half, shell on
1 T smoked paprika flakes or 1 t smoked paprika
Zest of 2 limes 
Salt and pepper to taste
A medium glug olive oil  (3 T)  
200 g smoked mussels halved 
1 large lime cut into segments 

THEN IN THE IRONCLAD PAN

1 free range chorizo crumbled
3 bay leaves
Large glug olive oil (about quarter of a cup) 
½ bulb garlic crushed
1 medium white onion finely diced
1 fennel bulb finely sliced  
1 red pepper in large chunks
1 T smoked paprika flakes or 1 t smoked paprika
1 c dry white wine
Large pinch saffron
1 ½ c arborio or short grain rice **don’t use medium or long grain
2 ½ c hot chicken or fish stock
Salt and pepper to taste 

METHOD

First up get those tomatoes grilling on the BBQ. Rub the tomatoes with olive oil, drop them onto the hot flames and turn with tongs until blackened. This will be quick! Don’t over cook them. Transfer tomatoes to a covered bowl to let them sweat. When cool, remove the skins, chop finely and set aside.

Toss the prawns and crayfish in olive oil, smoked paprika, lime zest, salt and pepper and, in batches, very quickly sear over a very hot flame. You don’t want to fully cook the seafood, more flavour it with fire and heat. Toss the crayfish and prawns, smoked mussels and lime segments in a bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your Ironclad Pan over a medium flame. Add crumbled chorizo and bay leaves and sauté for a minute or two to release the flavour. Now add the rest of the olive oil, garlic, onion, paprika, fennel and red pepper and sauté until sizzling and soft but not brown. Add white wine, chopped tomatoes and saffron and simmer for 5 minutes.

While that is reducing, prepare your smoking package. Place half a cup of mānuka chips onto a piece of tinfoil, crumple up the edges to hold them in, pop into a heated pan with a lid and heat until smoke starts to curl. When they start to smoke they are ready to be transferred to the BBQ.

Sprinkle the rice evenly over the bubbling mix. Pour over the hot broth. Check for seasoning, adding more salt if you like it salty. Do not stir!

Tuck your smoking chips onto the BBQ next to the pan, pop on the BBQ lid and cook over a for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid of the BBQ, take pan out and place lid back on to keep the smoke in. Add a few more mānuka chips if the package has stopped smoking.

If you need to add a little more stock, do that now and then swiftly nestle the crayfish, prawns, mussels and limes into the rice and return to the BBQ, lid on, for 5 minutes.

Serve sizzling to the table. Gather your family around so they can ooh and ahh at your incredible creation! Then cover with a tea towel or pot lid and let sit for 5 minutes as you fill drinks and give thanks to being safe in lockdown.

And now, devour!  

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