reader’s recipes: paella valenciana
Of course for paella, you need a paella pan.
The rest of the ingredients:
1. 1 large red and 1 green bell pepper cut into strips (we did two red bell peppers instead)
2. 1/2 to 1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed
3. 3 to 4 tbsp. chopped garlic
4. 1 large pinch of saffron threads (crushed with your fingers)
5. 2 tbsp. Spanish paprika
6. 1 – 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes drained
7. 4 to 6 fresh rosemary sprigs
8. 2 cup peas
9. 1 – 6 to 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
10. 5 to 8 skinless chicken thighs cut-up in thirds (we used about 4 chicken breasts cut up into fourths) – not pictured
12. 16 oz. (2 1/4 cups) California pearl rice (We used arborio, but just make sure not to use long grain.)
11. 1 cup or more of olive oil or canola (We used 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, which is not recommended because it leaves a burned taste, but the reader who recommended this said she uses it and it comes out fine, and so we did too and we think it came out fine.) – not pictured
12. Cold water to cover – not pictured
1. First, mix together diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chopped garlic and set aside.
2. Put oil in paella pan, wait until it gets hot, otherwise chicken will stick to pan more. Sprinkle some salt in outer edge of pan so that pan doesn’t burn as much.
3. Place chicken pieces in when ready, sauté for about 10 min or longer stirring frequently until chicken is medium brown. The longer you cook it, the tastier it will be at the end.
4. Next add pepper strips, peas, and green beans. Keep stirring and cook about 10 minutes or so, until they get a little limp. Once again, the longer you cook it the more “fond” you get at the bottom of the pan, which gives you the best taste results.
5. Add tomato mixture, stir a few times to mix in well, add paprika (paprika burns very quickly and it turns bitter when burned), so stir only 2 or 3 times and have your water ready to add immediately, add enough water to reach to 1/2 inch from top rim of pan.
6.Bring to boil, add saffron threads and salt to taste, add rosemary sprigs and boil for about 10 min. If after 10 min a lot of water has evaporated, add a little more. Never add water once you have added the rice, it makes it pasty.
7. Adjust salt, now you are ready to add the rice, distribute throughout the pan and don’t stir to much.
8. Boil on high the first 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium and cook another 10 more minutes. Rice takes about 20 minutes. to cook. It might take a little practice, but at the end of the 20 minutes, your broth should be gone and your rice cooked in give or take 3 to 5 min. Once cooked, let rest about 5 minutes. Serve with raw sweet onion wedges if desired.
This is the traditional, authentic paella, but for a variation add raw large shrimp on top of the rice during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
This recipe is from Jordan, whose mother-in-law is from Valencia, where paella first originated. Therefore, this recipe is the real deal folks. She was wonderful enough to share it with me , let me try it out, and now share it with you. Traditionally paella is cooked over a large fire and Jordan commonly cooks this with her husband every summer over a campfire, but we don’t have a fire pit and while I was originally going to try it out in the oven, I ended up putting it over two burners on our stove and that seem to be good enough. I would rotate the paella pan around to make sure it was getting evenly cooked.
The recipe came out delicious. I went light on the salt while it was cooking, so we had to add some after it was done, and next time I will be much more generous with the salt. We used chicken breast instead of chicken thighs, and my only mistake was I added more rice than it called for. That was an accident. It took a bit longer to cook because of that and I had to put a little bit more water. Other than that, it came out fantastic. We were really loving the flavors! Also, I have to admit, since we’re spicy lovin’ people, we sprinkled on some red pepper.
Thank you Jordan for sharing this absolutely scrumptious recipe! If any of you have any recipes to share, please do let me know. I want to try and make one of your family favorites too! Wanna see other reader’s recipes? Check out the Vietnamese Pho here.
*Make sure when you clean your paella pan afterwards, don’t let it air dry. We made that mistake the first time, and the whole pan instantly became rusty. I had to put a lot of muscle into it to get rid of that before using the pan to cook in again.