Recipe: Karen Martini's Paella with Chicken, Chorizo and Calamari

Recipe: Karen Martini's Paella with Chicken, Chorizo and Calamari

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This recipe has been created exclusively for The Essential Ingredient by Karen Martini. 

“This delicious full-flavoured paella uses classic Spanish ingredients in easily managed steps. Paella is such a beautifully fragrant and social dish; have your friends in the kitchen while you cook, snack on some olives or tortilla and get into the Iberian spirit with a briny glass of Fino Sherry.” – Karen Martini

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 100mL The Essential Ingredient Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless, cut into 2cm dice
  • 2 small calamari, cleaned- cut the hoods with the wings attached into 3cm rings and cut the legs into sets of two legs
  • 2 tsp La Dalia Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 60mL Paez Morilla Sherry Vinegar
  • 200g chorizo, sliced
  • 3 green chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large Spanish onions, diced
  • 500g The Essential Ingredient Paella Rice
  • 1.5 tsp fennel seeds
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 1.8 litres hot chicken stock
  • 1 small jar Pedro Luis Piquillo Peppers
  • 8-10 anchovy fillets
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 1 handful coriander leaves
  • 1 handful mint leaves

In a 40 cm paella pan (available in a range of sizes from The Essential Ingredient), heat half the olive oil on a high heat.

Add the chicken and sauté for 5 minutes then remove from the pan.

Add the calamari, half the smoked paprika and half the chilli powder and stir-fry for 1 minute. Deglaze with the sherry vinegar and remove from the pan.

Add the rest of the oil and the chorizo and cook for 3 minutes. Add the green chilli, garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften.

Add the rice, fennel seeds, bay leaves, the remaining paprika and chilli powder and salt, and toast the rice, stirring, till hot.

Add the saffron and the hot chicken stock to the pan, stir through and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally for about 10mins.

Tuck the chicken pieces (with any juices) and the whole piquillo peppers into the top of the rice and cook for a further 5 minutes without stirring, to help develop the required crust on the bottom of the pan.

Add the calamari and scatter over some anchovies and cook for a further 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, squeeze over some of the lemon and allow to sit for a minute or two.

Serve with the fresh coriander and mint scattered over the top and the remaining lemon wedges on the side.

To see more from Karen Martini, visit

About Karen Martini:

Karen has been cooking professionally for over 20 years, obtaining ‘Chef’s Hats’ while at both The Melbourne Wine Room and Sydney’s Icebergs Dining Room & Bar.

She opened Mr Wolf in St Kilda in 2004, and has been a regular contributor for The Weekend Australian, food editor of ‘Sunday Life’ (The Age, Sun Herald) and a presenter on Channel &’s ‘Better Homes and Gardens’.

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