The region where this famous rice dish traditionally comes from (although eaten nowadays throughout all Spain) is Valencia, in the Mediterranean east coast of Spain.

The proximity of the “albuferas” and marshlands (which are very characteristic landscapes), made the existence of rice fields possible and set like this the perfect conditions for the creation of this dish (there are not many zones where you can cultivate rice). So as you can imagine, the rice, which the Arabs introduced in Europe 800AD, is key to good Paella valenciana. Like with sushi, it needs to have the perfect consistency in order to reveal its best flavor and texture. It might seem basic, but it is the pillar everything builds up on.

The variety Bomba is the rice of choice for the valencian paella as it absorbs much more liquid and flavors than other rices.  This one from Valencia is available on amazon. You can also use any other arroz redondo (short-grain rice)

A curiosity not everybody knows is that the name “Paella” actually doesn’t refer to the food itself, but to the pan it is cooked in!

paella-valenciana-recipe

Traditional Paella Valenciana Pablo Neustadt _ ©ICEX

Ingredients:

  • 500g Rabbit
  • 500g Chicken
  • 60 cl Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 200g of green beans
  • 200g kg of garrofón (lima bean)
  • 500g Bomba rice (or any other short-grain rice if you can’t get it)
  • 1.5 liters chicken or vegetable stock.
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Saffron from La Mancha (if you don’t have any don’t worry, you can use a Paella Seasoning like this one )
  • Salt
  • 10 pre-boiled snails (optional)
  • Prep: 15 min
    Cook: 35 min

  • Yield: 4 servings

Preparation:

  1. Heat up the paella, add the oil and when it gets quite warm, add the meat (chicken and rabbit, cut into small pieces).
  2. Sauté it over low heat until the meat is sealed and golden.
  3. The next step is to add the tomatoes (peeled and ground) and vegetables (lima and green beans), maintaining the same heat.
  4. Once everything is well fried, add the stock, a sprig of rosemary and heat everything up.
  5. Just when it begins to boil, add the rice, the snails, salt and saffron and remove the rosemary. At this moment the fire needs to be at its maximum.
  6. When the rice is cooking for about 10 minutes, decrease the heat gradually for at least another ten minutes.
  7. Once the paella is done and all the liquid has evaporated, let it stand for a couple of minutes to let it form the socarrat or socarradet (light crust of rice on the bottom of the pan) and then it’s ready.

Pro tip:  the most tasty part of the paella is the crunchy one, stuck to the pan- the best way to get it when you are in company, is to elegantly dissimulate and then to scratch is off with a wooden spatula and simply enjoy!

When buying saffron, make sure it’s the authentic red gold that comes from La Mancha (there are only a few official distributors there)

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