PAELLA VALENCIANA

Ingredientes:

  • 200 gr Bomba or Calasparra rice 
  • ½ rabbit
  • ¼ chicken
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 100 gr green beans
  • 100 gr semi-cooked ferraura beans (flat shaped big beans)
  • 3 artichokes
  • 20 miligrams saffron (not grams!!!)
  • 2 branches of rosemary 
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika 
  • Oliveoil, salt, black pepper

Allioli 

  • 2 cloves of garlic (without germ)
  • 150 ml oil (oliveoil-sunflower oil mix)
  • 1/4 lemon (juice)
  • Salt

Before writing the recipe, I would like to warn you that the Paella that we will cook today has nothing in common with the “Paella-like Thing” served to tourists in Barcelona or Madrid as this thing is nothing but just an overcooked , yellow colored rice with a bunch of seafood on it. The ones who were disappointed by those Paella-like Things should give one more chance to the real Valencian Paella. Right after the recipe, I would like to share a couple of things on Valencia region as well.

Originally, Paella is cooked in a special pan called “Paellera” on wood fire. However, as it is very hard to find this special utensil out of Spain, you can cook your Paella in a round-shaped tray. with a diameter of 40 centimeters. But please do not use a  deep saucepan as it is crucial that the rice would be cooked as a thin-layer. 

First, ration and season the meat of the rabbit and the chicken, then cook them with some olive oil until they will have a brown color. Incorporate the vegetables (green beans that were cut to 3 parts, semi-cooked ferraura beans and artichokes-cleaned and cut into half) and sauté; afterwards add the saffron, rosemary, paprika and add grated tomato. Cover the ingredients with water until almost the final edge of the tray or Paellera. When the level of water would be reduced to half, add the rice. Cook for 5 minutes on medium fire. Than cook another 10- 15 minutes in the oven heated 150 Celsius degrees. It is important to cook the rice until it gets dry. (The texture should not be juicy as Risotto)   Actually the rice that gets crunchy and forms a crust at the bottom of the pan is called as “Socarrat” in Spanish and it is one of the signals of a genuine paella. (Probably the most delicious part of the paella as well)

Allioli:

Take the germs of the garlics out. Then mash them with a pinch of salt until it gets puree. Add the juice of ¼ lemon. Add the oil drop by drop while stirring the garlic-lemon juice. Keep adding oil and stirring until the emulsion would get the texture of mayonnaise.

Serve the Paella together with a small bowl of allioli. 

Tips:

  • It is crucial to use Bomba or Calasparra type of rice. Never use Basmati, Jasmine or any other long grained rice. 
  • Cooking the chicken and rabbit until they would have brown color is crucial. This reaction is called as Maillard* and it is extremely important for the taste.
  • For a genuine paella, rice should be cooked dry. Paella is never ever similar to Risotto!

*Maillard  Reaction: It is a complex set of chemical reactions between proteins and sugars in foods when they are heated. Darken by heat a food containing sugars. The Maillard reaction is responsible, therefore, for the color and flavor of foods during the different forms of cooking, the process begins when the reaction between one molecule of carbohydrate and an amino acid occurs either free or as part of a protein chain, the result is a new structure whose instability experiences new changes resulting in hundreds of different compounds. In parallel a reaction that gives the brown color and a complex nuance of flavors from multiple compounds occurs.

About Valencia

Valencia is one of 17 autonomous communities of Spain. The 3 cities of Valencia Community are Valencia, Alicante and Castellon. The language of Valencia (Valenciano) is one of the official languages of Spain together with Catalan, Basque, Gallego and Castellano. One of the most popular touristic destinations of Spain, Costa Blanca (White Coast), is located in this region. Valencia city shines out with its historical value, architecture with the influence of Roman, Andalus and Spanish cultures and modern signature buildings such as The City of Arts and Sciences. Local festivals are important components of the cultural fabric of Valencia. The major ones are: Carnavals (February), Las Fallas (March), La Tomatina (August). 

Paella is a typical food of Valencia Region. Another important component of the gastronomy of Valencia is  a drink called as Horchata (Orxata) which is made of Tiger Nuts (Chufas). Horchata is usually accompanied by a pastry called as “Fartons”or it is consumed as a frozen drink.

I wish that in the very near future you will have the chance of enjoying Paella at one of the Chiringuitos (small restaurants at the beach) on Costa Blanca. The end of my post is accompanied by a glass of Horchata and a Valencian song. Buen Provecho! /Enjoy your meal! 

Pep Gimeno Botiferra-Romanç de les jugadores de burro
Horchata &Fartons

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