Cooking right a Valencian Paella is actually an art that could be at the end of your fingertips as long as you follow some easy steps and have all the required ingredients.
Don't get confused between the Valencian Paella and other rice dishes. The ones from Alicante stand out for their 'sauté' and the variety of ingredients that are made of. The Valencian Paella is a survival dish that comes from the inland, that's why its basic ingredients are rabbit and chicken, and also the different vegetables from the Valencian vegetable garden. The same happens with the different kinds of rice: the ones from Albufera (inland rice plantation area located near Valencia) are made of duck, whereas the ones from the coast are of fish and seafood. The rice dish is made of whatever people may have in their pantry. It's the cooking heat what makes the rice be cooked nice and properly on all sides round, so that's the real key to making a successful dish.
ingredients for 4-6 people
- 400 g. rabbit (cut into small pieces)
- 400 g. chicken (cut into small pieces)
- 250 g. 'ferradura' (green beans)
- 150 g. 'tabella' (white beans)
- 150 g. 'garrofón' (big white beans, traditionally used in Valencia for paella)
- 300 g. rice
- Ripe tomato
- A bunch of snails
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 3-4 saffron stigmas
- Small sprig of rosemary
- 600 cl. water or chicken/vegetable stock
- 1Use a paella pan - flat shallow round pan
- 2Heat medium
- 3Add the oil
- 4When hot, fry gently the rabbit & chicken, previously cut and salted
- 5Meanwhile, put the snails in cold salty water to clean up them
- 6Change the water 2 or 3 times
- 7Brown the meat
- 8Add the beans
- 9Still frying for 8-10 more minutes
- 10Add the tomato (grated)
- 11Stir until it loses all the water
- 12Add the rice evenly, saffron, paprika and water/stock
- 13Once it starts to boil, add more salt if needed
- 14Add the snails (strained)
- 15Simmer between 15-20 minutes, until the rice gets dry
- 16Remove the paella pan from heating
- 17Add a small sprig of rosemary
- 18Cover the paella pan with a clean cotton-made tea towel
- 19Let it settle 1-2 more minutes
OUR TIPS AND TRICKS
To prepare a good Valencian Paella you should take into account:
- The best water for boiling the rice is the 'hard' one (lime contained), that's the one you usually have in Valencia. In this case, the hardness of the water is quite important. The harder the water is, the fewer minutes it will need to be cooked. That means that if spring water is used, it will take longer.
- The ingredients that need less cooking time (vegetables) must be added at the very end, so that they won't get overcooked.
- The amount of water/stock should double the rice one. That makes: 1 part of rice vs 2 parts of water/stock. Take into account the type of heating and the kind of rice you are using. Not all of them cook the same, neither soak up the same amount of water/stock. It will be fine to keep a hot cup of it to add, just in case it's necessary. If needed, add it on the sides of the paella pan.
- The heating is basic to make a good Valencian Paella. It must heat the edges of the paella pan. If it's too small for the paella pan, the rice in the sides won’t be cooked enough. The boiling has to be stronger in the very beginning and milder in the remaining cooking time. If you want the bottom to get crusty (called 'socarrat’), just turn up the heat in the last few minutes. It gets delicious if you cook it on a charcoal grill, but it’s pretty difficult to get an even heating all over the pan bottom surface. You can also get a nice flavor if it’s finished in the oven. That makes this a way easier option for the finishing touch. When the cooking process is done, cover the paella pan with a cotton-made tea towel and let it rest for a couple of minutes.
- Serving: place the whole paella pan on a hot pad on the center of the dining table. Use a wooden spoon. Mix the rice on the sides with the crusty bottom. It can be served on individual plates or can be eaten right from the paella pan, THIS IS THE VERY TRADITIONAL WAY. The best way to be eaten is with a wooden spoon.
First coursesPreparation time:
Con Mucha Gula