La paella

Surely everyone who reads this sounds familiar, has heard of or even tried the famous Spanish paella, but ... is it really "Spanish" the paella? Is it prepared the same in all regions of our country? Which are the ingredients? Can we prepare it at home? Today we encourage ourselves with this post to solve all these doubts and tell you the story of this famous international dish, so versioned and at the same time so despised.

To begin with, and this is important, we will say that the paella is of Spanish origin, yes, but Spain is bigger than it seems. And this particular dish is from the Valencian community, that's where it is best prepared and where you should try it. This dish is of humble origin and it seems that it takes its name from the container where it is prepared, since "la sarten" (the pan) is translated into Valencian as paella (although about this, like almost everything that surrounds this dish, there is also discussion and different theories).

Rice arrived in Spain from Asia in approximately 330 BC and since then it will begin to be used in our gastronomy and later to be cultivated in our lands. In addition, Muslims in the Al-Andalus period began to cultivate saffron, one of the main ingredients of this dish. In some gastronomic treatises there are already references to paella as "Valencian rice" and how it was replicated in other regions of Spain. And although it is known that at the end of the 18th century the dish was already well known in Europe, it was not until the 19th century that it was actually going to be used in all Valencian festivals and it was eaten at family gatherings. It is said that then in our country rice was eaten like this and only like this (neither white, nor stew or soup).

As a curious note while I am writing this post and looking for information, we have learned that during the Spanish Civil War the rebellious side was given the order to shoot soldiers (regardless of which side) who were making a paella in the open in the demilitarized zones. The reason for this was that Valencia remained loyal to the Second Republic.

With respect to the original recipe and so that we do not fall into "deceptions", the Valencian Government Ministry of Agriculture has prepared in conjunction with the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin Rice of Valencia, a register of ingredients that every paella that wants to be marketed under the name of Paella Valenciana.

The ten basic ingredients that are always generally and traditionally used are chicken, rabbit, bajoqueta (green bean), garrofón, tomato, rice, olive oil, water, saffron and salt.

This makes sense because as the Valencian Community is a poor area in livestock, the animals available for food were corral, such as rabbit and chicken, local vegetables and rice that they themselves grew.

Another issue to take into account is the container where we must prepare this dish, which is one and only one: the paella (which is not a paella pan, as it is commonly called). The paella is a kind of generally iron pan, wide, with two or more small handles, shallow and large area. This proportion maintains adequate evaporation rates. That is why it is said that it must have a large diameter and a shallow depth. Its depth is usually not greater than five or six centimeters and its diameter varies depending on the number of guests.

Now that you know the most important of the history and theory of paella, we are going to tell you how to prepare it:

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams of Bomba Rice
  • 1 kg of chopped chicken
  • 500 grams of chopped rabbit
  • 200 grams of green beans
  • 100 grams of fresh crab
  • 100 grams of chopped tomato
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • A few strands of saffron
  • Ground red paprika
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Salt

Elaboration:

 

  • Pour the oil over the paella and turn on the fire. Once the oil is hot, add the rabbit and chicken and fry them until they turn golden.
  • Remember to turn the pieces of meat so that they are done evenly. Next, add the vegetables and sauté them.
  • Now pour in the grated tomato and fry it in the same way, stirring constantly.
  • It is the turn of the paprika. Add it and stir it for just a moment, then you have to pour the water up to the rivets of the paella to prevent it from burning. Add the saffron, rosemary, and salt.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, let it boil for about 5 minutes over high heat. Then turn it down to medium heat and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Raise the fire and add the rice.
  • The traditional way to put it is by making a cross in the boiling water and distributing it evenly over the surface of the container. Take advantage now to taste and rectify the salt.
  • Keep the heat high for about 10 minutes and reduce the heat by half for a similar time until the rice is at its doneness. Enjoy your meal!

 

If you want to know where you can find the best paella you can do it in one of our "Tapas tours" or you want us to prepare it at home with our "chef at home" service, do not hesitate to contact us at info@sevilla4real.com

 

Recipe from: La Fallera 

Pictures by aquí, aquí, y aquí.