Simple Campfire Paella


As this paella is done on the campfire, this recipe dispenses with the saffron and seafood to makes things simple. Food coloring can be substituted with saffron and other ingredients added: squid, shrimp, mussels, clams, rabbit, peas or fresh baby broad beans. Substitute water with meat or fish broth for extra flavor.


1⁄2 c
chicken (cut into small pieces)
3 lb
pork ribs (cut into bite size pieces)
tomatoes (chopped)
bell pepper (green, diced)
3 c
6 c
saffron (or yellow food coloring)


  1. Heat oil in a large paella pan and add chicken pieces and cook in the pan for 3-4 minutes turning the chicken occasionally to prevent over-browning.
  2. Add chopped tomato and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add diced green pepper and stir. Stirring prevents overcooking.
  4. Add pork ribs. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the tomato is almost reduced to sauce and the meat has browned is time for the next step.
  5. Add the rice. It is easy to double or triple the recipe, as long as the ingredients and liquid fit in the pan. Simply measure the rice with a cup and add twice the volume of liquid than the volume of rice.
  6. Sprinkle yellow coloring powder over the rice. If using saffron, use mortar and pestle to crush the strands, add a little water and pour the saffron-water mix over the rice.
  7. Add liquid, stir briefly to mix and leave to cook. If you stir the cooking rice, the grains break liberating starch and the rice becomes sticky.
  8. Simmer uncovered for 15-18 minutes. The liquid is absorbed gradually.
  9. When all the liquid has been absorbed, the paella is ready. Recommended: cover and let it stand for 8-10 minutes.


Ideally, use a paella pan. If you don't have it, a large pan will do.

For a more flavourful sofrito and a paella with even more taste, add 1 large onion, finely chopped, shortly after adding the diced pepper and 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 2 minutes before adding the rice.

If using, small clams or mussels can be added directly to the pan or steamed beforehand; if this is the case, mix this liquid with the water to cook the rice. Estimate 1/2 lb of each.

If using shrimp, peeled and de-veined, boil briefly the heads in water and use the drained liquid to cook the rice, adding water as required. Estimate 1/2 to 1 lb of shrimp.

Add 1 can cooked peas after adding the rice if you long for more vegetables.

Garnish with strips of roasted red pepper, if wished, just before the rice finishes cooking.

Saffron gives a better flavor, but yellow food coloring will do the trick.