Traditional paella is a Spanish dish that originated in the Valencia region. It is typically made with saffron, paprika, and other spices, and is typically cooked in a large, shallow pan called a paellera. The dish typically features rice as its base, along with a variety of meats and vegetables, such as chicken, rabbit, and snails. It is often served with a sprinkle of lemon juice and parsley.
Here is a traditional paella recipe made in Ronda with both metric and imperial measurements that will easily serve 4 people.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 500g (1 lb) chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
- 250g (8 oz) rabbit, cut into bite-size pieces
- 8 snails, cleaned and rinsed (optional)
- 1 litre (4 cups) chicken or rabbit stock
- 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
- 300g (1 1/2 cups) bomba or paella rice
- A handfull of fresh peas
- chopped parsley, for garnish
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish
Are snails really in the original recipe?
Yes, snails are a traditional ingredient in paella, especially in the Valencian region where the dish originated from. They are often added to the dish along with other meats such as chicken and rabbit. Snails are considered a delicacy and add a unique and subtle flavor to the dish. However, not everyone likes to include snails in their paella and it can be omitted from the recipe if desired. In Ronda you need to ask the restaurant if snails are included in the recipe.
What is “sofrito“?
“Sofrito” is a flavorful base ingredient used in Spanish cuisine. It is typically made by sautéing a mixture of diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers in olive oil. It can also include other ingredients such as cumin, paprika, and saffron. This mixture is then used as the foundation for many dishes such as paellas, stews, and soups to add flavor. It can be made fresh before cooking or purchased pre-made in jars or cans. Perfecting your “sofrito” is the key to a great paella!
Instructions for the sofrito
- Heat the olive oil in a paellera or large, shallow pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
- Add the paprika, saffron, salt, and pepper, and stir for another minute.
Continue adding ingredients
- Add the chicken, rabbit, and snails (if using) and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the meat is browned.
- Add the stock, diced tomatoes, and rice, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
- Add the peas and cook for another 5 minutes, until they are tender.
- Remove from heat and let the paella rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
A few notes on the recipe
- Some traditional paella recipes also call for green beans, artichoke, and lima beans as vegetables. Feel free to add or substitute these vegetables according to your preference.
- If you are not able to find rabbit, you can replace it with pork or beef.
- Some people like to add seafood such as shrimps, mussels and squids to make seafood paella.
- It’s important to use a wide and shallow pan (paellera) so that the rice cooks evenly and the liquid is absorbed properly.
- It’s important to cook paella over low heat. If you’re using a regular pan, you may need to adjust the heat to avoid burning the bottom of the dish.
- Always use high-quality saffron as it gives the paella its characteristic yellow color and unique flavor.
- It’s best to use Bomba or paella rice as it’s the best type of rice for this dish and absorbs more liquid than other types of rice.
- If the paella is too dry, add a bit more stock or water. If it’s too wet, continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed.
- Let the paella rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Paella is typically served as a main dish, but it is also great for sharing and for big groups.
Are there any Spanish chefs famous for their paella?
Ferran Adrià is a world-renowned chef known for his modernist cuisine and his restaurant El Bulli, which was considered one of the best in the world. He has also created several variations of paella, including a paella made with liquid nitrogen.
José Andrés is a Spanish-American chef who is known for his contemporary Spanish cuisine. He has several restaurants in the United States, including Jaleo, which serves traditional paellas.
Quique Dacosta is known for his contemporary Valencian cuisine. He has several restaurants in Spain, including his flagship restaurant Quique Dacosta, which serves traditional paellas.
Carme Ruscalleda is known for her modern Catalan cuisine. She has several restaurants in Spain, including her flagship restaurant Sant Pau, which serves traditional paellas.
Andoni Luis Aduriz is known for his modern Basque cuisine. He has several restaurants in Spain, including his flagship restaurant Mugaritz, which serves traditional paellas.
Everything you need to know before you visit Ronda “The city of dreams” in Andalucia. https://www.rondatoday.com/
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