It's common but not essential for paella to be made with chorizo, which infuses the dish with a unique flavour. As I enjoy vegetarian sausages I thought I'd attempt to flavour one with paprika and garlic to try to recreate previous paellas that I've eaten. My attempt was moderately successful; it's impossible to mimic the exact taste of the meat version, which is cured for a long time but this works well enough, especially as part of a paella.
Quorn sausage are particulary good for this purpose as they don't taste of much so they take on the flavour of the spices better. To infuse the sausage I lightly grilled it, sliced it thinly and put it in a bowl with a large glug of olive oil, a teaspoon of paprika, a large pinch of cayenne pepper, a crushed clove of garlic, and left it to marinade in the fridge overnight. If you don't want to use sausages then omit this step and put more paprika into the paella.
Update: I've since found that sundried tomatoes are a much better way to flavour vegetarian and pescetarian paellas. I've not a fan of quorn and it doesn't matter how long you marinade the sausages for, they aren't going to taste like chorizo. A small handful of finely chopped sundried tomatoes (about four), added to the pan just after the onions and garlic, give the paella a huge boost of flavour.
- Thoroughly wash the rice and leave to drain in a sieve.
- Finely chop the garlic and onion and add to a large frying pan with a generous splash of olive oil. Fry until the garlic starts to colour.
- If using the vegetarian chorizo add to the pan and fry for a minute.
- Add the glass of wine and let it bubble to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Add the chopped tomatoes.
- Add the rice to the pan and leave for one minute so that it soaks up the flavours. If you have a timer in your kitchen set it to go off in 20 minutes time.
- Add a quarter of the stock to the pan and stir well. Add the paprika, turmeric, saffron and seasoning.
- Once the rice has absorbed the stock add a little more. The paella will cook for around 20 minutes in total and the stock needs to be added slowly throughout the cooking process.
- Add the peppers and peas (about 10 minutes in), stirring well. If the rice has become dry, add a little more stock and keep repeating this process until you have used it all up.
- When the paella has five minutes remaining add the prawns and push them into the rice. Allow to cook for two minutes then turn the prawns over to cook for another few minutes taking care not to disturb the rice at the bottom of the pan.
- Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the rice, check that the prawns are cooked through, then sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Turn off the heat and leave for a minute. When you dish up the paella it should have a nice crust along the bottom providing that you didn't stir too vigourously during the last five minutes of cooking.
- Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread.