Melissa's paella with fideos

Paella with fideos 

250 grams or 8 ounces fideos (thin noodles)

1 onion, chopped

½ large red pepper, chopped

2 chorizo sausages, sliced into 1-inch pieces

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

pinch of saffron

1 cup dry white wine

4-5 cups fish or shellfish stock *

6 chicken thighs, skin on and bone-in

1 pound large head-on prawns (deveined and heads removed from half of them) *

chopped parsley

good olive oil

For the stock:

Heads of half of the prawns

¼ cup vermouth

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp whole peppercorns

8 cups water

Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a large pot until not quite smoking.  Add the prawn heads and get a good heat on them for about 1-2 minutes.  You want them to sear and brown a little.  Add a large pinch of salt.  Deglaze the whole works with the vermouth.  Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, carrot, bay leaf, and peppercorns.  Stir for a couple minutes until the vegetables start to soften and the onions start getting translucent.  

Then add about 8 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer until you have about 6 cups of stock.  

Strain and set aside.

For the paella:

Pour the reserved stock into a saucepan and add the saffron threads.  Bring to a gentle simmer and keep hot.  

Salt and pepper the chicken thighs generously.  Heat 2 TBSP of olive oil in a paella pan over high heat and add the thighs skin-side down.  Sea for about 3 minutes on each side and remove from pan.  Turn the heat to medium and add chopped onions and red pepper.  Cook until they start to soften, then add the noodles and turn the heat up to high and brown for a minute.  Add the smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.  Stir for a minute to combine, then add the chorizo and stir again.  Deglaze with the white wine and stir until it is reduced. 

Add the noodles back in and stir to mix.  Then nestle the chicken thighs into the noodles, skin-side up.  

Start adding the stock, like you would when cooking risotto, allowing the noodles to absorb the liquid ladle by ladle.  Depending on the noodles, you may or may not need all the stock, but judge for yourself how al dente you like them.  

Meanwhile, salt and pepper the rest of the shrimp.  If you have a grill pan or a barbeque, grill them on high heat a couple minutes on each side, until they turn pink.  If not, throw them into a pan with a splosh of olive oil on high heat.  

Arrange the shrimp over the noodles and sprinkle with parsley and a good drizzle of olive oil before serving.