Spanish Paella part 2: the recipe

Making a paella is not an easy thing. You have to learn to measure the rice in relation to the rice and vice versa, and the only way to do it is through practice. Nevertheless, once you learn to use the “eye-meter,” a paella can be a very easy and satisfying dish to do for any occasion. Start practicing!

Paella Valenciana

Ingredients, 4 servings

12 oz. Bomba rice

1.5 lb. Chicken (white and dark meat)

14 oz. Rabbit (you can skip this if you don’t like it and just add more chicken)

2.5 oz Lima Beans

5 tbsp. Shredded FRESH tomato

12 oz. FLAT green beans

2 Artichokes

6 fl. oz. Olive oil

paprika

saffron

fresh rosemary

salt

water

A pan of 12.5 inches in diameter, or a little over a foot, and around 1 to 2 inches high (for more people see below)

1. Pour the oil in the middle of the pan, level the pan and wait until the oil is very hot. Once the oil is ready, put the cut pieces of chicken and rabbit (lightly salted) and lower the heat to medium.  Cook the meat thoroughly, this part is very important. It has to be golden brown. Tip: If you add salt to the borders of the pan, where there is no oil, it won’t burn.

2. Add all of the vegetables previously diced, except for the tomato. Sautee them for a few minutes. Once they the vegetables are ready, make a hole in the middle of the pan and push vegetables and meat to the sides of the pan. In this hole put the shredded tomato and the paprika, mix and let it fry lightly over low-medium heat for a few minutes.

3. Mix everything. Add water up to the top border of the pan. Add salt and let everything cook for around 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary.

4. After 30 minutes, the resulting stock has to be a little bit below the top part of the pan. In other words, in the height of the pan is 2 inches, the water has to be at about 1.5 inches. At this point, taste the stock and add more salt in necessary.

5. The rice must be added in a very special way. Since there are no measurements for the rice, it has be done in relation to the water that we have, this is why it’s important to monitor the levels of the water. If you have followed the explanation above about the water, the rice should cook fine. Add the rice making a line across the diameter of the pan, like this. The rice should be half-submerged. About a finger of rice should stick out, and the rest should be in the broth.

6. We put the saffron on top of the rice and then mix all of the ingredients together. All of the rice should be submerged at this point. We cook this for about 6-7 minutes in high heat, or until the rice starts to show.

7. At this point we have to lower the heat to its lowest level, place the rosemary on top of everything and let everything cook in low heat for about 5 minutes. If after these 5 minutes the paella has still some stock left, cook it for 3-4 minutes in medium heat. If it doesn’t have much broth left or no stock at all, cook it for 3-4 minutes in low heat.

8. The paella is done! Put the paella aside and let it rest for around 5 minutes and it’s ready to serve!

NOTE: Like I said in my previous post, there are many variations on this recipe. People add onion, garlic and/or red pepper, put different vegetables and skip the meat entirely and just add seafood (prawns, calamari and mussels are the most common)

NOTE2: If you want to make a bigger paella the pan has to be bigger too. 4 servings= 12.5 in, 5 servings=13.5 in, 6 servings=14.5 and so on.

Here is a great You Tube home-made video about paella valenciana done by an American in Valencia

Enjoy!

picture from lamerce.net

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