Posted April 21, 2011on:
Paella is a rice-based dish that originated in the mid-19th century in Valencia, Spain. Ironically although most of us associate the paella with Spain, the Spaniards themselves associate the paella with Valenica instead of Spain.
Well no matter if it’s Valencia or Spain, a paella is still a delicious and hearty meal – great for families to share! There are 3 main types of paella: the paella valenciana (Valencian), paella de marisco (seafood) and paella mixta (mixed).
As the paella valenciana was originally peasant food, the meat in it tended to be either chicken or rabbit and sometimes snails were added as well. The paella de marisco swaps out those meats for seafood and the paella mixta is basically a freestyle paella, although the most common is to use seafood with chicken and that is what I went for.
Of course you need Valencian short-grained rice for the paella and I got mine from Arroz Dacsa. Bomba rice is supposed to be the best rice for paella as it can hold triple the amount of water and still maintain its shape. It doesn’t get sticky and absorbs a lot of flavour from the broth. Unfortunately I have no idea where to get this locally unless I buy it online.
Sausages are used to flavour the paella and I used chorizo de bilbao which is one of Spain’s most popular cooking chorizo. It is semi-cured and raw, with a piquant paprika taste to it.
Saffron of course, to add their subtle flavour to it.
Diced onions and red peppers are sauteed until soft, forming the soffrito
Then the chorizo and chicken chunks are added and cooked until all the chicken surfaces have been seared.
Rice is poured in and dry cooked until they become translucent, mixing it well with the soffrito
Chicken stock is added together with a generous pinch of saffron and some smoked paprika
And finally adding the diced tomatoes on top
Keep the heat on medium and let the rice grains absorb the stock
When the rice is almost done, add in the fish first and then other seafood like prawns and squid since they cook much faster than fish
Garnish with some cilantro
And here’s the final product, waiting to be scooped out to hungry mouths!