Paella is, without a doubt, the most universal of Spanish dishes.
Made with chicken and rabbit meat, vegetables and rice, it admits many variations depending on the ingredients used that change its name: ‘mixed paella’ (meat and fish), ‘marinera’ (fish), ‘winter ‘(with beans and artichokes),’ with vegetables’ (as main ingredients), ‘with cod and cauliflower’, etc.
The name comes from the container in which it is cooked, the ‘paella’ (and not ‘paellera’ as is intended in a false and modern terminology that is unpleasant and uncomfortable for the Valencian people). The ‘paellera’ would be the lady who prepares the paella, in the same way that the ‘paellero’ would be the cook who makes it, or the modern device that serves as a diffuser of the flames when gas is used as a heat source , instead of firewood and trivets, to cook it.
The ingredients to make a ‘Valencian paella’ (with ‘designation of origin’) are: chicken and rabbit meat, snails, vegetables (flat beans, tavella, garrofón, tomato), round rice, saffron, sweet paprika, water and salt . However, each chef has his own technique and small details that complete the symphony of flavors that paella becomes in the hands of an expert (minced garlic, rosemary to perfume it …), but without actually using the chorizo, Mortadelas and lupins, which represent true aberrations for such a worthy, complete and universally accepted dish, a ‘jewel’ of Mediterranean cuisine.
As a simpler recipe, we will give the following:
- Hot 100 dl. of olive oil in the paella * and add a chicken and rabbit well chopped and seasoned previously. When the meat is well fried and browned, add 1/2 kg. chopped beans and the garrofón (you can set the meat aside to the sides of the paella to more comfortably fry the vegetables). When it is sautéed, add a few minced garlic cloves and a couple of ripe, grated tomatoes, followed by a tablespoon of sweet paprika. Stir all the sauce with the meat adding 750 grams. of rice (the Alicante custom is to add the rice before putting the broth in the paella, as it seems to be looser). The appropriate ratio of broth and rice is that of 2.5 containers of broth for 1 of rice (if the variety of rice is ‘arroz bomba’, it admits the ratio of 3 x 1).
- Raise the heat to the maximum and when it starts to boil, reduce the heat a little, add salt to it and stir so that the rice, meat and vegetables are distributed throughout the paella without touching it again. Add the snails, already cooked, and let the paella dry until you perceive the perfume of the ‘socarraet’.
- Let it rest after turning off the heat for about five minutes, serve it and enjoy!
* As the size of the paella and the number of servings of it is very random, we are talking about a 50 cm paella. in diameter and of proportions for 6-8 people.