Recipe: Rice and easy... a cheats Paella

Here's Di Curtin's quick take on paella, using leftover cooked long grain rice.
Recipe: Rice and easy... a cheats Paella

Cheat's Paella by Di Curtin

RICE is one of the most convenient foods to grace the larder. In the last few decades, this humble grain has gone from being an exotic ingredient you only ever ate in a Chinese restaurant, to becoming an everyday mainstay of the European kitchen cupboard, consumed as regularly as spuds in many households.

As a prime ingredient, rice forms the basis of many famous international recipes, from paella and risotto in Europe, to Jambalaya in the Southern USA, and Biriyani in India, to name a few.

This weekend, I’ve done a quick take on paella, using leftover cooked long grain rice. My Cheat’s Paella combines all the flavour elements of the well known Spanish dish, without the time it takes to knock up the real thing.

Ingredients include chunks of hot chorizo sausage, smoked paprika and garlic, with red pepper, mushrooms tomatoes, scallions and even a few olives to add a piquant tang. Fast and furious to make with leftover cooked rice, you’ll have a dinner in no time.

But it doesn’t take that much longer to cook the rice fresh and add it to the other ingredients as they are cooking in the pan. Use my recipe as a basic guide, then customise with your own additions of extra veggies, chunks of chicken fillet or even fresh fish or prawns. You can have a different version every time!

As autumn kicks in, wild Irish blackberries are adorning the hedgerows. A recent stroll revealed a few gorgeous specimens, juicy and ready to pick. Now is the time to get out with your bowls for a bit of foraging, because the harvest will be over in the next week. If the birds or other foragers don’t get to the berries first, heavy mists and rain will cause the unpicked fruit to mould and rot. So get out while you can. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, for another year!

Use your pickings in this simple lemon flavoured tray sponge, dotted with blackberries and scattered with chopped almonds, great served warm with cream for dessert, or cold with a cup of tea!

Cheat's Paella by Di Curtin.
Cheat's Paella by Di Curtin.


Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

75g chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into chunks (or to taste) 

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 

1 bunch scallions trimmed and chopped 

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped 

12 cherry tomatoes, halved 

100g mushrooms, wiped and sliced 

2 tsp piquant smoked paprika 

350g cooked rice 

150mls rustic passata 

Few drops Tabasco sauce (optional) 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Extra olive oil and finely chopped parsley to serve


  • Heat oil in a pan and cook the chorizo, garlic and scallions till chorizo is browned and its juice beginning to run.
  • Add pepper, tomatoes and mushrooms with a little extra oil and cook over medium heat till beginning to soften.
  • Stir in the paprika and cook for a further minute.
  • Add the cooked rice, passata and Tabasco if using, then stir gently to combine without breaking up the rice grains Season and stir till everything is heated through.
  • Serve in warmed bowls, drizzled with extra olive oil and scattered with parsley.

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