Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes + allow 1 hour for the chicken (this step can be done in advance)
All of Spain adores this dish, with its bronze tint of saffron and harmonious blend of products from land and sea arranged on a bed of rice.
Paella is found throughout the country, with some variations, but it is in the Levant, particularly in Valencia, that paella finds its most renowned interpretation. The name comes from the dish in which it is prepared, a “paellera,” a big shallow metal pan fitted with two handles, reminiscent of Roman patellas that were used to present offerings to the gods. If possible, paella should be cooked over a wood fire or paellero. When it is cooked in the oven, it becomes “el arroz al horno,” or baked rice. In the latter case, you could use a large round cake pan.
The basis of a good paella is a dry rice: therefore the trick is to end up with grains that are both cooked and separate.
Along with rice, the dish contains oil, chicken, lean pork, ham, eel, peas, beans, green beans, crayfish, snails, artichokes, green chilies, garlic, onion, saffron, spices and herbs. It’s a gastronomic mess, the uninitiated will say… but it’s a delicious mess! Don’t skimp on the oil – it’s necessary for a good paella.
- Cut up the chicken; poach in simmering water with an onion and carrot; remove the chicken and reserve the broth;
- clean and scrape the mussels; place them into enough cold water to cover and boil for 1 minute; open them and reserve the shell halves containing the mussel; strain the cooking liquid;
- skin the eel and cut into pieces;
- heat half of the oil in a large pan; add the chopped onion and cook until softened; add the tomato and beans; combine well;
- add the pork tenderloin, ham and eel; let simmer covered for 6 minutes; add the chicken and chorizo; cover and cook for a minute longer;
- pour the remaining oil into the paellera; when it is hot, add the measured rice and heat for a few moments until it colours lightly; add the saffron, soaked in a little hot water, and all the ingredients in the pan from steps 4 and 5, along with the salt, lemon, garlic and parsley; add the hot chicken broth (you need approximately 2 1/2 times the volume of liquid as you have rice);
- after 5 minutes of cooking, add the prawns, mussels and green pepper; cook for 15 minutes longer, shaking the paellera off the heat when the liquid begins to reduce, but without disturbing the rice;
- remove from the heat; cover with a clean cloth and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
A dry Utiel or Requena wine goes very well with the Paella and stays in the Spanish theme
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