Why is paella so popular?
Initially, the main ingredients included meat and beans. … Valencia’s position on the coast meant people had access to a lot of good seafood to add to their dishes. Though the original Spanish paella recipe used rice, meat, and beans along with saffron and paprika, the most common form nowadays is seafood paella.
Here is the story I tell when asked about how I create paella, and the following is the recipe I use for the Original Spanish Paella. Of course, it is easier for you to have Paella-Party Catering come and prepare one of our paellas in front of your guests, but I encourage you to try this yourself.
What are the cultural influences of paella?
Paella began with the two cultures that most impacted Spain: Roman and Arabic. The Romans arrived in what was then known as Hispania around 200 B.C. and introduced the irrigation that made farming viable around Valencia.
Paella is one of the best-known dishes in Spanish cuisine. For this reason, it may be seen internationally as Spain’s national dish, but Spaniards almost unanimously consider it to be a dish from the Valencian region; those who live there, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.
These are the main ingredients in an original traditional paella.
Paella Valenciana is the conventional paella of the Valencia region, believed to be the original recipe.
It consists of:
- short-grain white rice
- chicken, rabbit, snails (optional), duck (optional)
- butter beans, great northern beans, runner beans
- artichoke (a substitute for runner beans in the winter)
- fresh rosemary
- sweet paprika
- saffron, garlic (optional)
- Olive oil as a base
- (sometimes) whole rosemary branches
What is unique about a paella pan?
Paella takes its name from the broad, shallow traditional pan used to cook the dish on an open fire. Paella means “frying pan” in Valencian, Valencia’s regional language.
A real paella pan is wide, round, and shallow and has splayed sides. … The shape of the container, which is called a paellera, helps ensure that the rice cooks in a thin layer. The Valencians say that the cooked rice should be only as thick as the width of one finger (about 1/2 inch).
Originally, paella made in Valencia was a lunchtime meal for farmers and farm laborers. Workers would gather what was available to them around the rice fields. Often included tomatoes, onions, and snails. Rabbit or duck was a simple addition, or chicken less often. It also became a traditional Sunday meal in the region for families to share.
Poorer Valencians, however, sometimes used nothing more than snails for meat. Valencians insist that only these ingredients should go into making fresh paella Valenciana.
I have adjusted this recipe for your use to feed six guests. I suggest using a 10 to 12-inch paella pan or skillet. When cooking on a stovetop, you should elevate the pan above the heat source, so there are no hot spots.
There are three main types of paella:
- Valencian paella/paella Valenciana: rice, green vegetables, rabbit, chicken, or duck, snails, beans, and seasoning
- Seafood paella/paella De Marisco: rice, seafood, and seasoning
- Paella/paella mix combination of seafood, meat, vegetables, beans, and seasoning
OUR ORIGINAL PAELLA RECIPE INGREDIENTS
Extra virgin olive oil
3 cups short-grain rice such as bomba or Calasparra rice (arborio risotto works as a substitute)
8 cups chicken stock
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large pimento pepper, diced
3 large artichoke hearts, diced
2 to 3 cups of flat green beans or other beans of your choice, assorted beans are fine
4 plum tomatoes, diced
4 ounce can tomato paste
4 lbs rabbit (contact me for substitutions)
1⁄2 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
20 threads of Spanish saffron
Sea Salt as needed
1 or 2 sprigs of rosemary or 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
It’s best to have all of your ingredients prepared before you start cooking.
Prepare the rabbit by separating the legs, cutting the remaining meat into small slices, and lightly salting. Give me a call for substations.
I always try to make my chicken stock from scratch, adding a bit of rosemary and saffron. Keep your broth hot but not boiling as you cook.
Coat the bottom of your paellera (pan) with olive oil.
Brown the Rabbit for 2-3 minutes. Do not thoroughly cook. While the rabbit is cooking, sprinkle the smoked paprika over the meat along with some sea salt. Set aside or push to the edges of your pan.
Brown garlic, onion, and parsley until softened, adding plum tomatoes and tomato paste shortly before the mixture finished and is known as a Sofrito.
Place the beans in the pan and mix with the sofrito sauce you just made.
Mix all the ingredients in the pan together, spread out over the entire pan, and continue to cook under low heat.
Spread the uncooked rice over the top of the pan. Let the rice absorb the flavors for about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock to cover the whole mixture. Add the warm broth, and it will begin to boil almost immediately. Lower to medium heat, but keep it at a steady boil.
Smooth out rice and make sure the broth covers the rice.
Should you stir a paella?
In terms of the essential ingredients, paella is similar to risotto. The main difference is
paella doesn’t require constant stirring. It’s important not to mix it after the stock is added to ensure the delicious, light-golden crust, known as Socarrat, forms on the base.
Let it cook another 10-20 minutes or until the rice on the top is al dente. It should be in a low boil; do not rush the rice.
How do you know when the paella is done?
When most of the broth has been absorbed, add the snails and then add the artichoke and pimentos on top. Now you can mix the paella for the last time and take the paella pan off of heat and cover. Test the paella is cooked, use a spoon to taste a little rice from the edge of the pan as it’s the furthest from the heat in the center. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then serve.
Place the paella pan in the center of the table and let everyone enjoy your creation.