the lure of a new cook book…

it intrigues me how some cookery books cast a spell upon me when i’m flicking through them in a shop or at a friend’s house but, once they are mine, they stop singing their siren song.

this happened when i bought the moro cookbook, the first book by sam & sam clark. it sat on my bedside table for many months, being looked at regularly but never quite capturing my imagination sufficiently to cause me to try a recipe. but then, as if by magic, i was captured once again and all the dishes that had jumped off the page and begged to be cooked were jostling for position.

this chorizo and spinach paella was the first to make it onto my table and is one of the dishes that i make most often from the book. i now own all three moro books and have gone through this same process with each of them. well, not quite all - moro east remains resolutely silent. if you have any particular recommendations, do let me know, i’m not good at being patient.

paella de cerdo con chorizo y espinaca (serves 4)

7 tablespoons olive oil (use much less if you omit the pork)

350g pork fillet, halved lengthways then cut into strips, roughly 7mm (i no longer add this as i don’t think it is necessary)

200g mild cooking chorizo, finely chopped (i tend to use the picante, rather than the mild)

1 large green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

250g paella rice

1tsp sweet smoked paprika

2 noras peppers – break into small pieces, discarding the seeds/stem and soften in boiling water

900ml chicken stock

500g spinach

1 lemon, in wedges

heat the oil and, over a high heat, stir fry the pork for a few seconds so it is still undercooked. season and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. turn down the heat and fry the chorizo for a minute. add the onion and green pepper and cook for 20mins, stirring occasionally. add the garlic and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. the mix should be slightly caramelised and taste sweet. stir in the rice and mix to coat it. at this point everything can be cooked in advance, the next stage takes around 20 minutes.

season, add the paprika and noras peppers (drained of their soaking water) followed by the not stock and leave to simmer for 15 minutes or until there is a thin layer of liquid around the rice.

wilt the spinach. evenly scatter the pork fillet over the rice, followed by the spinach and push partially down into the rice. cover the pan and take off the heat, leaving for 3-5 minutes. serve with lemon wedges.