Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Paella

I said I'd give my recipe for paella today, but first a little background.  I was first introduced to paella by my mother-in-law who was Spanish, her family was f rom Macatera a small village near Salamanca, Spain.  She made a very soupy version because that's how my father-in-law liked it.
Then when we started traveling to Spain I became more familiar with the Valenciana version which is drier and I found that I liked it better.
No one is quite sure where the word paella comes from.  One theory is that it is derived from the Latin word patella which means pan and paella is the Valencian word for pan.
Other say it comes form the Arabic word baqiyah which means leftovers and that paella is a poor man's dish made from leftovers.
It's  a bit of a stretch to get from baqiyah to paella, but it was the Arabs that brought rice to Spain so it's possible.
Typically you'll see several different versions of paella in Spain:  Paella Valenciana which is made with rice, chicken, pork and rabbit, no seafood.
Paella Marisco which is made with seafood, prawns, mussels, calamari (squid).
Paella Mixta which is a combination of  the first two.
Arroz Negro which is rice cooked with squid ink----this is Mac's favorite version.

I tend to make Paella Mixta and it is usually a leftover version with me throwing in whatever's laying in the refrigerator.

                                                                Paella

Chicken Thighs    Use as many as you think your family will eat, I flour mine, but you don't need to
                              I brown them in a large frying pan using a teaspoon of olive oil with lots of onion      
                              and garlic.  Cook about 15 minutes adding nonfat chicken stock as they're
                              cooking, pour in a bit at a time to keep things simmering, but don't drown things.  I
                              also add a bout a 1/2 cup white wine, this isn't necessary, but I like it.

Rice                       After about 15 minutes I add the rice, I put in a bit over 1/2 a cup, but put in enough
                               to feed your family.  Then I add approximately 2 cups of water and the saffron.  I
                               know saffron is expensive, but it just isn't paella without it.  Hard to describe how
                               much I use, I grab a very generous pinch  and smashing it between my fingers I add
                               it to the rice, if the rice  doesn't turn yellow enough I add more.  Cover, lower the
                               heat and cook until the rice is done.

Shrimp                   When the rice is nearly done add the shrimp, I use canned shrimp, little ones and
                               they taste delicious, you could use fresh or frozen ones too.

Green Peas             After the shrimp I put in the green peas, I put in about a 1/2 cup

You can add more water or chicken stock as needed depending on how soupy you want it to be.
I always let my sit for a while after it's done and let the rice soak up most of the liquid.

About anything can be added to a paella, sometimes I put in Chorizo, Spanish sausage and for Mac, who likes seafood better than me, I'll throw in some fish or scallops.
You could use any part of the chicken, but thighs stay the juiciest.

It is so tasty, we love it.  Sorry there's no picture, but we ate it before I thought of taking a picture.

                           


4 comments:

  1. Reminds me of my Italian teacher, and old aristocrat, who told us pizza was made of leftovers on wash day. Apparently their cook was also the laundress.

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  2. I am pleased to hear of the mixta version as our paella is definitely nothing like anything that any Spaniard would recognise, but now I can just say that it is mixta!! We generally have big prawns and chorizo in ours with quite a lot of veggies, no shellfish as hubby is very allergic to mussels - prawns are ok though thank goodness! I should try some chicken sometimes. I love this post!! xx

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  3. I would love love love to try your paella. Sadly in the north of spain where we just walked it was not great. Mostly it came out of a packet frozen and they heated it up!
    Loads of seafood on mine please!

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  4. I've just printed it out, I love love love paella! Thank you!

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