There is no meal more sociable than a fabulous Paella. The ultimate symbol of Spanish gastronomy, this dish presents itself in many forms across Spain, with the original deriving from the lakeside region of southern Valencia, Albufera.
This recipe creates an authentic Paella Valenciana for 4 people and is best cooked in a 12 inch Paella pan.
- 400g La Bomba paella rice
- 350g chicken, diced
- 150g rabbit, diced
- 400g flat green beans or green runner beans, chopped in half
- 400g Lima beans
- 2 large, finely chopped or grated tomatoes
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ g saffron
- A generous pinch of rock salt
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 900ml freshly made stock (chicken, fish or homemade)
- 1 tsp. Spanish smoked or sweet paprika
- Optional: 4 shell-on prawns
- 2 tbsp. good quality olive oil
- Shells and heads of 4 tiger prawns
- 1 fish head or bones of 1 fish (optional)
- ½ medium onion, peeled and diced
- ½ fennel bulb, diced
- 2 dried ñora peppers, crushed by hand
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 tbsp. tomato purée
- ½ tsp. smoked sweet paprika
- 70ml brandy
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp. sea salt
If using homemade stock, start from point 1, if using ready-made stock, start at point 5.
- To make the stock, heat the olive oil and cook the prawn heads, shells and fish head or bones for 1-2 minutes in a large saucepan, breaking up the shells with a wooden spoon.
- Add the onion and fennel and sweat over a medium heat for 10 minutes until they start to caramelise. Now put in the tomatoes, tomato purée, ñora peppers and paprika and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Pour in brandy then deglaze the pan with a little hot water, scraping all the caramelised ingredients from the bottom with a wooden spoon to release the flavours.
- Add the bay leaf and 1.5 litres of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45mins, reducing the liquid to leave about 900ml of stock.
- Place the paella pan on the heat source - fire, BBQ or oven. Sprinkle coarse salt in the bottom of the pan and add a thin layer of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the chicken first and then the rabbit. Sauté, turning pieces until they are golden brown and beginning to crisp, but not fully cooked. This should take about 8 minutes. Add both types of beans and cook gently until they are translucent.
- Now put in the tomatoes and cook until they are brown. Mix in the paprika then pour in enough stock to come up to the bottom of the rivets on your paella pan (the rivets attaching the handles). Add the saffron at this stage. Season to taste, raise the temperature and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, add the rosemary, followed by the rice in a criss-cross pattern. With a spatula, gently spread rice evenly over pan. Boil on high for about 8 minutes then turn the heat down and add the prawns. From this point onwards the liquid should remain at an even gentle simmer and the rice should not be stirred.
- Let mixture bubble until liquid is absorbed, usually about 20 minutes. As soon as the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, remove the paella from the heat and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- The desired outcome is a crispy base where the rice begins to stick to the pan. This is known as Sacarrat and without it, it isn’t true paella.
- Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, serve in the middle of a table and eat directly from the pan with wooden spoons, starting from the outside of the pan.