Paella Recipe

A carefully crafted dish or just something to throw together? Check out this Paella recipe that keeps life going without much bother!

Paella-recipe-2-SunCakeMomSimilarly to many dishes like fajitas or fish stew, Paella (pai·ay·uh) has started its life as a humble dish at the countryside of Spain’s Valencia region.  It was used by farmers and laborers of the region to have something hearthy to keep them going on the rice fields.

As with these kind of dishes, paella ingredients of the time used what was available for the people around them.

We may not think of Spain in Europe as a country where rice can gain foothold but it was introduced to the area by Arabs in the 10th century. It quickly became a staple that people could use as a base for many ingredients.

The first paella was filled with whatever the day brought to the butchering table water vole, eels, snails, duck, rabbit and less frequently chicken. Among the meat, various vegetables like tomato, flat green beans, butter beans and seasonal artichoke was used.

The ingredients were prepared without using elaborate techniques or tools, since it had to be done under the blue sky over open fire. Paella requires only a sharp knife and a shallow pan, as known as paella in Valencian, hence the name which is used synonymously in the region to describe both the food and the cooking vessel.

What makes paella so different from other rice dishes though, is not the ingredients, although this topic can get as heated as pineapple on pizza, but the world’s most expensive spice, saffron.

Saffron, that provides paella a distinctive yellowish hue and special flavor, is native to the Mediterranean basin and was a natural addition to the dish.

Over time, the paella proliferated from the fields and found its way to the shores which is actually not that far if anyone is familiar with Spain’s, more precisely Valencia region’s geography, and seafood replaced the meat.

Once paella broke the barriers of region and started to spread into the broader Spanish culinary culture, the two fairly distinct dish got combined and mixed, paella was born. Although we may come to know paella as a rice dish with meat and seafood, not everyone agrees.

Valencians still insist that anything that is not true to Paella’s roots is just a rice with things (arroz con cosas) and capable of going as far as using only orange tree wood and pine cones to build their fires for the paella.

We, of course, in the coziness of our kitchen, can do anything we like with our rice, including using  paella food colorant or curcuma, instead of the fairly pricey saffron.

Sure, it’s a practice that looked down upon by purist but widely practiced, especially at places where the high turnaround of people doesn’t always require the best quality of ingredients such as all the places where we eat as tourists.

It’s worth to note that if we skip on saffron, read the label of the paella seasoning as some of them that uses the coloring E-102, can cause hyperactivity in children for some unknown reason.

So, if we don’t want our kids to madly run around in the house while we are fighting with food coma on the couch or even worse the paella police come sniffing at our premises, just stick to the original paella recipe.Paella-recipe-3-SunCakeMom

Ingredients

  • 1 lb / 500g Chicken
  • ½ lb / 250g Rabbit
  • 2 tablespoons / 30g Cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoon / 10g Salt
  • ½ / 50g Italian green pepper (sliced)
  • 1 cup / 200g Italian flat green beans (1″ / 2.5cm chopped)
  • 1 cup / 200g Artichokes (1″ / 2.5cm size – optional)
  • 2 cloves / 6g Cloves (finely cut or grated)
  • 2 medium / 200g Tomatoes (grated tomato)
  • 1 cup /  100g Garoffon Butter beans for paella (follow instructions on packaging for soaking before cooking if necessary)
  • ½ teaspoon / 1g Paprika
  • ½ qt / 1500g Water (needs to be adjusted to rice water absorption properties)
  • ¼ teaspoon / 0.1g Saffron (crucial)
  • 1 cup / 250g Bomba rice for paella

Kitchen equipment

  • Ø14″ / Ø36cm Paella pan (we used a 11″ / 28cm skillet)

How to make Paella

  1. Cut the meat up into equal chunks. De-boning the chicken thighs and drumsticks will determine the size but if we use bone in chicken, just chop the part in half. Traditional Valencian Paella has rabbit that can be substituted with chicken.Paella-recipe-Process-1-SunCakeMom
  2. Heat oil to medium high in a paella pan or lack of that, in our trusty skillet. Salt and sear the pieces of meat. Mind the meat don’t overlap as it will not sear properly. This is why we need a big enough pan / skillet for this job. Do it in batches if necessary. Once the bottom of the meat develops a golden brown crust, flip it around, about 5 minutes.Paella-recipe-Process-2-SunCakeMom
  3. Sear the other side of the meat to develop some golden brown crust, about another 5 minutes.Paella-recipe-Process-4-SunCakeMom
  4.  Add the green vegetables such as green pepper, Italian flat green beans and the seasonal, hence optional artichokes. Move the bits around so the vegetables get to the bottom. Optionally remove the meat. Stir-fry on high heat (sauté) the vegetables until starting to get soft, about 3 minutes.Paella-recipe-Process-5-SunCakeMom
  5. Finely cut the garlic, grate tomatoes (or pulse in a food processor (don’t tell)).Paella-recipe-Process-3-SunCakeMom
  6. Add garlic, tomatoes, and Garoffon butter beans to the paella. Move it around so all the pieces get to the bottom then sauté until the liquid evaporates and the paella is starting to develop a thick sauce.Paella-recipe-Process-7-SunCakeMom
  7. Meanwhile get the saffron ready. It’s a crucial, yet delicate process so be mindful here. We can do this in a skillet but we may have more control this way. Fold a little poach and place the saffron inside. Heat the poach from the outside from afar slowly until we can start to smell the saffron. It takes a couple of seconds. Keep an eye on the saffron, if it smokes we’ve just overdone it. The goal is to lightly roast it, not to burn it.Paella-recipe-Process-6-SunCakeMom
  8. Place the roasted saffron into a spice grinder and pulverize it.Paella-recipe-Process-9-SunCakeMom
  9. Mix paprika into the paella. As much as saffron, paprika doesn’t like direct heat very much so once mixed in, don’t wait too long with the next step.Paella-recipe-Process-8-SunCakeMom
  10. Add water, bring it to boil then mix in the saffron. Water amount depends on the rice we use. If our pan is not big enough then measure the necessary amount and add the water in batches during cooking. Use some of the water to clean the spice grinder and tools we usedit so no saffron goes to waste. Don’t forget to add back the meat if it was removed in previous steps because of lack of space.Paella-recipe-Process-10-SunCakeMom
  11. Reduce heat to simmer then cook away half of the total amount of water, about 25 minutes. Mix in the rice and arrange the bits and pieces to our liking because from now on, the paella shouldn’t be touched until it is done. We should have 3 times as much water as rice in our pan now.Paella-recipe-Process-11-SunCakeMom
  12. Cook the paella until the water evaporates and the dish final form appears, about 15 minutes.Paella-recipe-Process-12-SunCakeMom
  13. Paella needs to have a crust developed by frying the starches in the rice. It can be a tricky process for beginners as it runs the risk of burning our lovely dish down. Increase the heat to medium and fry the bottom layer of the rice, about 1 – 3 minutes. In a not so visible place, check for the crust if necessary. It should have a hard but definitely not black crust developed. Take the pot of the hob, temperature and time necessary for the results and adjust for next time.Paella-recipe-Process-13-SunCakeMom
  14. Add a twig of rosemary on top then cover the paella with a kitchen cloth until served.Paella-recipe-Process-14-SunCakeMom

Enjoy!Paella-recipe-1-SunCakeMom

F.A.Q.

What is the secret to a good paella?

Balance. A key to a good pealla is limiting the amount of ingredients used, allowing each of them to contribute to the dish.

What are the ingredients of paella?

There are different types of paella with varying ingredients. The tradtional Valencian paella is made of chicken, rabbit, green pepper, flat green beans, tomato, garlic, butter beans, paprika, saffron and rice.

What is the most important ingredient in paella?

The single most important ingredient in paella is saffron. Saffron gives its charecteristics, yellowish hue and provides a unique flavor to paella.

What shouldn’t be in paella?

It depends who will see it. Some got into trouble adding chorizo, however others pointed out that chorizo was used in early traditional paella. It’s recommended not to mix seafood with meat but no one seems to care about that either.

Should a paella be covered whilst being cooked?

No, paella doesn’t need to be covered when cooking. It is recommended to be covered with a cloth after cooking though while adding a sprig of rosemary to aromatize the rice.

Paella-recipe-g16x9-SunCakeMom
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5 from 1 vote

Paella Recipe

A carefully crafted dish or just something to throw together? Check out this Paella recipe that keeps life going without much bother!
Course Main Course, Meal
Cuisine Dairy free, Gluten free, Mediterranean, Sugar free recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 7
Calories 315kcal
Author SunCakeMom

Equipment

  • Ø14" / Ø36cm Paella pan (we used a 11" / 28cm skillet)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Chicken
  • ½ lb Rabbit
  • 2 tablespoons Cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • ½ / 50 g Italian green pepper sliced
  • cup Italian flat green beans 1" / 2.5cm chopped
  • cup Artichokes 1" / 2.5cm size - optional
  • 2 cloves Cloves finely cut or grated
  • 2 medium Tomatoes grated tomato
  • ½ cup Garoffon Butter beans for paella follow instructions on packaging for soaking before cooking if necessary
  • ½ teaspoon Paprika
  • 7 cups Water needs to be adjusted to rice water absorption properties
  • ¼ teaspoon Saffron crucial
  • cup Bomba rice for paella

Instructions

  • Cut the meat up into equal chunks. De-boning the chicken thighs and drumsticks will determine the size but if we use bone in chicken, just chop the part in half. Traditional Valencian Paella has rabbit that can be substituted with chicken.
    Paella-recipe-Process-1-SunCakeMom
  • Heat oil to medium high in a paella pan or lack of that, in our trusty skillet. Salt and sear the pieces of meat. Mind the meat don't overlap as it will not sear properly. This is why we need a big enough pan / skillet for this job. Do it in batches if necessary. Once the bottom of the meat develops a golden brown crust, flip it around, about 5 minutes.
    Paella-recipe-Process-2-SunCakeMom
  • Sear the other side of the meat to develop some golden brown crust, about another 5 minutes.
    Paella-recipe-Process-4-SunCakeMom
  • Add the green vegetables such as green pepper, Italian flat green beans and the seasonal, hence optional artichokes. Move the bits around so the vegetables get to the bottom. Optionally remove the meat. Stir-fry on high heat (sauté) the vegetables until starting to get soft, about 3 minutes.
    Paella-recipe-Process-5-SunCakeMom
  • Finely cut the garlic, grate tomatoes (or pulse in a food processor (don't tell)).
    Paella-recipe-Process-3-SunCakeMom
  • Add garlic, tomatoes, and Garoffon butter beans to the paella. Move it around so all the pieces get to the bottom then sauté until the liquid evaporates and the paella is starting to develop a thick sauce.
    Paella-recipe-Process-7-SunCakeMom
  • Meanwhile get the saffron ready. It's a crucial, yet delicate process so be mindful here. We can do this in a skillet but we may have more control this way. Fold a little poach and place the saffron inside. Heat the poach from the outside from afar slowly until we can start to smell the saffron. It takes a couple of seconds. Keep an eye on the saffron, if it smokes we've just overdone it. The goal is to lightly roast it, not to burn it.
    Paella-recipe-Process-6-SunCakeMom
  • Place the roasted saffron into a spice grinder and pulverize it.
    Paella-recipe-Process-9-SunCakeMom
  • Mix paprika into the paella. As much as saffron, paprika doesn't like direct heat very much so once mixed in, don't wait too long with the next step.
    Paella-recipe-Process-8-SunCakeMom
  • Add water, bring it to boil then mix in the saffron. Water amount depends on the rice we use. If our pan is not big enough then measure the necessary amount and add the water in batches during cooking. Use some of the water to clean the spice grinder and tools we usedit so no saffron goes to waste. Don't forget to add back the meat if it was removed in previous steps because of lack of space.
    Paella-recipe-Process-10-SunCakeMom
  • Reduce heat to simmer then cook away half of the total amount of water, about 25 minutes. Mix in the rice and arrange the bits and pieces to our liking because from now on, the paella shouldn't be touched until it is done. We should have 3 times as much water as rice in our pan now.
    Paella-recipe-Process-11-SunCakeMom
  • Cook the paella until the water evaporates and the dish final form appears, about 15 minutes.
    Paella-recipe-Process-12-SunCakeMom
  • Paella needs to have a crust developed by frying the starches in the rice. It can be a tricky process for beginners as it runs the risk of burning our lovely dish down. Increase the heat to medium and fry the bottom layer of the rice, about 1 - 3 minutes. In a not so visible place, check for the crust if necessary. It should have a hard but definitely not black crust developed. Take the pot of the hob, temperature and time necessary for the results and adjust for next time.
    Paella-recipe-Process-13-SunCakeMom
  • Add a twig of rosemary on top then cover the paella with a kitchen cloth until served.
    Paella-recipe-Process-14-SunCakeMom

Notes

Enjoy!

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 315kcal (16%) | Carbohydrates: 38g (13%) | Protein: 17g (34%) | Fat: 10g (15%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 42mg (14%) | Sodium: 746mg (32%) | Potassium: 499mg (14%) | Fiber: 5g (21%) | Sugar: 2g (2%) | Vitamin A: 473IU (9%) | Vitamin C: 17mg (21%) | Calcium: 43mg (4%) | Iron: 3mg (17%)

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