Paella Valenciana

A quintessentially Valencian recipe

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What constitutes an ‘authentic’ paella? Wars have been fought and families cast asunder by less controversial questions. We’ve gone for a quintessentially Valencian recipe here, which focuses on a few key ingredients, traditionally featuring some combination of chicken, pork and rabbit, and occasionally snails, spiced with paprika and saffron for that signature golden hue.


Ingredients (serves 4):

80ml extra virgin Spanish olive oil

800g chicken thighs and 450g pork ribs, chopped into bite-size chunks

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 medium tomatoes, grated

300g green beans

200g butter beans, jarred or rehydrated overnight

2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika

A generous pinch of saffron, about 10 threads

400 grams of paella rice, bomba or calasparra

½ tbsp salt

2 litres water


Method:

Heat some olive oil in a wide skillet on a medium-high heat and add the meat with a generous sprinkle of salt. Brown on all sides, turning every 3-5 minutes; this will take around 20 minutes. If you haven’t already done so, pop a good pinch of saffron into a small amount of warm water to soak.

Push the browned meat to the sides of the pan, and add the green beans (cut into short pieces) to the oil that will collect in the centre. Sautee for a few minutes, then push aside again and fry the garlic for around 30 seconds. Add the butter beans on top off the garlic and gently mix them for 30 seconds.

Add the paprika and, after a minute, the crushed tomatoes and saffron, and start to mix everything together with a wooden spoon. Next, add the water, and simmer on medium for about 10 minutes, before lowering the heat to a slow simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by around 40%. 

Add the rice and, if necessary, stir a little to make sure it is all covered by the stock. This is the only time you will stir the paella while it’s cooking. Cook the dish on a fast simmer for the first 10 minutes, then reduce to medium-low for another 8-10 minutes. 

To get the slightly crispy, caramelised base known as a ‘socarrat’, turn the heat up at the very end of cooking until you hear some gentle crackling, then wait for about 30 seconds before turning the heat off. Cover with a tea towel for five minutes and serve.

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