How To Make Paella

Authentic Valencian Style Paella

Cocinando paella

Authentic Valencian Style, Seafood&Chicken Paella recipe for 12 hungry adults

Authentic Valencian Style Seafood&Chicken Paella

Paella: 1
Paella (Pan) Size: 16 in. diameter
Servings per paella: 12 adults

ANTHROPOLOGY, ETYMOLOGY AND OTHER SILLY STUFF ABOUT PAELLA
The recipe for this exquisite Valencian Paella (from Latin "pagella" a circular, semi-cylindrical container with one or two hoop-shaped handles, which derived into Castillian-language "paella", the actual name of the pan where the famous dish is cooked) is based on René's mother's recipe, and includes a splendid panoply of herbs, vegetables, seafood and non-hot spices. The spices are better if green-fresh. This Valencian Paella is best if accompanied by a good Spanish Grand Reserve Rioja wine, or a California Rhine wine.
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The number of servings may look large, but paella is something to share with relatives, friends, co-workers, and club or church members, or sold in a fundraiser. For different number of paellas or servings, change the amount of ingredients proportionally. Paella can be served at lunch or supper.

Making paella may look laborious and complicated, but it's a fun and unique experience that the entire family can participate in and enjoy. As a matter of fact, a parallel approach is the best way to make paella, where several folks prepare the ingredients simultaneously around a nook, the adults seeping good wine, and the kids, good fruit juice.

Furthermore, parents and children can enjoy a family quality time of togetherness while nipping and snacking on the paella garnishes.

Moreover, children can learn from parents a little culinary anthropology from the diverse ingredients in the paella, where the "old" and "new" worlds melt in a harmonious and tasty convergence.

Versed Spanish culinary anthropologists assert that Paella is original from the Spanish Region of Valencia, specifically from the vicinities of The Albufera (from Arabic "Al-Buhayrah", literally "The Little Sea", from the times of the Moor occupation of Spain), a small coastal low land saline lake, practically a lagoon, about 12 miles south of the Balearic-Mediterranean seaport city of Valencia, the Region's capital.

They contend that paella originated from thrift; it basically was born as a well-garnished rice-dish to which "day-before" leftovers of pork, rabbit or poultry were added. Eventually it came to be prepared with combinations of fresh cuts of any of those three meats, which were plentifully available in the surroundings of The Albufera. Later on, seafood was used instead of, or in addition to, any combination of the "traditional" meat trio, but lack of refrigeration didn't allow seafood to become the paella dominant component as it is now.

The thing was that the day after frolicking on lots of wine and "traditional" trio meat, villagers would rapidly cook rice in a paella, and then toss and stir in the "day-before" leftovers, so that they had something hurriedly cooked to accompany the desperately needed wine to "cure" their hangover.

The problem was that the "self-curing" villagers would usually get another hangover the next day, for they would usually prescribe to themselves a mighty large dose of wine as part of the "cure". And they would go on the next day, and terminate the paella for a "cure of the cure". So, paella was part of a two-day "cure". Seafood paella wouldn't last; it would be rotten the next day, due to lack of refrigeration.

The bottom line is that nowadays seafood dominates paella, and the larger the seafood variety, the merrier. For instance, this recipe calls for rock code or kale, squid, mussels, baby clams, prawns, Dungeness crabs, lobster tails, and chicken breasts. Bayou crawfish are a better replacement of prawns.

As for veggies and non-hot spices, we go wild. Besides pricey saffron --which can be replaced with turmeric or yellow food colorant slightly tinted with achiote (annatto)-- this recipe calls for Spanish capers, green olives, garbanzos, sweet peas, cilantro, parsley, garlic, just to mention some.

All that said, paella is a happy tribute to life as, more than eloquently, expressed by paella's eclectic, but harmonious in taste, collection of ingredients.

If there is no Spanish foods store in your community, some of the ingredients, such as and large Spanish capers and achiote, can be found in Mexican grocery stores. Saffron can be found in Middle Eastern stores. Other than fish stores, Chinese grocery stores are usually a good source of fresh seafood.

The following paragraphs give minutely detailed lists of utensils, ingredients, and step-by-step instructions that empower even the rawest of novices to excel as a master chef in the culinary art of making paella.

Furthermore, the ingredients are listed in affined groups to facilitate shopping for them; the way it is structured, the list of ingredients provides a convenient, orderly shopping list.

And finally, a few words of caution: (1) Paella must be cooked on open fire, never baked, (2) the rice must be cooked in such a way that it results into a dry and loose grain, (3) be suspicious of any mushy or wet paella, and (4) never accept beef in paella.

COOKING UTENSILS
a) Cleaver
b) Cutting knife
c) Cooking brush
d) Cooking spoons
e) Cooking knife
f) Cutting board
g) Cooking spatula
h) Paella Pan
i) Medium size pot for seafood stock
j) Large pot to cook crabs
k) Measuring cup
l) Measuring spoons
m) Kitchen mittens
n) Full body apron

LIST OF INGREDIENTS
NOTES
· To minimize the probability of bacterial contamination, wash your hands thoroughly with soap under running water after touching uncooked seafood or poultry.
· Keep all uncooked seafood and poultry under refrigeration at all times except at the very moment of cleaning, cutting or cooking.
· Increase amount of ingredients proportionally for larger size or number of paellas.
· Make sure all the ingredients are prepared/measured, and in separate containers, prior to starting cooking.
· You can substitute the bouillons in the stock with the head, tail and bones of the filleted fish as a substitute. To that effect, tell the butcher about your intentions and ask her/him to cut and clean them accordingly.

Seafood&Poultry
2 Pounds of Live Baby Clams, with scrubbed-clean shells
2 Pounds of Live Mussels, scrubbed-clean shells, and de-bearded
2 Pounds of Boneless Chicken Breast cut in chunks 2 cu. cm. large
2 Pounds of Fish Fillet (Rock Cod, Hake or any fish of a hard meat consistency to endure the stirring during the cooking) cut in chunks 2 cu. cm. large
2 Pound of Clean Squid Tentacles and Tubes, whole or cut in 2 cm. wide rings
1 Pound of Large Prawns or Crawfish, shelled, de-veined
3* Cooked Dungeness Crabs or any type of meaty crabs -- legs and pincers whole, but body cut into 4 pieces


3* Cooked, shelled Lobster Tails cut in chunks 2 cu. cm. large
* Better if live and cooked at home

Herbs, Vegetables&Spices
2 Cups Fresh Onions, Chopped
1 Cup of Fresh Leeks, Chopped
1 Cup of Fresh Scallions, Chopped
2 Heads of Fresh Garlic, Minced
12 Fresh Mushrooms, Sliced
6 Fresh Mint Leaves, Minced
6 Fresh Basil Leaves, Minced
10 Fresh Oregano Leaves, Minced
1 Twig of fresh Thyme
1 Cup of Fresh Baby Sweet Peas in the pod, clean and de-veined
1 Cup of Fresh Baby Fava Beans in the pod, clean and de-veined
2 Fresh Red (Pimento) Peppers, Seeded and cut into strips
2 Large Tomatoes, Diced into 1 cu. cm. chunks
2 Cups of Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 Cup of Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
2 Bay Leaves, Whole
1 Cup of cooked Canned Garbanzo Beans, thoroughly Drained
2 Cups of Bottled Spanish Green Olives, thoroughly Drained
1 Cup of Bottled Spanish (large) Capers, thoroughly Drained
2 Cups of Canned Artichoke Hearts, thoroughly Drained
1 Teaspoon of Celery seed
4 Cloves, Whole
1 Pinch of Saffron (or 1 teaspoon of Turmeric, or 3 drops of yellow food colorant&1 teaspoon of Achiote)
1 Teaspoon of Paprika
1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper, Ground
1 Cup of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Butter
4 Cups of Long Grain Rice
8 Cups of Water (2 cups for each cup of rice - for paella Stock)
1 Cup of White Wine (for paella Stock)
3 Cubes of Shrimp Flavored Bouillon (for paella Stock)
4 or more, ripe Lemons cut in round slices (for decoration)
1 Cup of Salt or as needed (Cooking the crabs will take plenty of salt),

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Put your apron on, and keep mittens at hand and use them when manipulating hot utensils.

For the benefit of good results, prepare the ingredients in the order listed here.

A- Seafood Stock
NOTES
· This stock replaces the water normally used in cooking "normal" rice, and it takes 2 cups of water for each cup of rice.
· If you don't have bouillon, use the residues of the filleted fish as a substitute.
1. Pour the Water in the pot.
2. Add the 3 Cubes of Shrimp Bouillon.
3. Add ½ cup of Chopped Onions (Save the rest for the sweated veggies and for the rice).
4. Add ¼ of the Minced Garlic.
5. Add the Celery Seeds.
6. Add the Cloves.
7. Add the Saffron (or1 teaspoon of turmeric, or 3 drops of yellow food colorant & 1 teaspoon of achiote).
8. Add the Paprika.
9. Fire it up and bring the stock to a boil.
10. Add Salt to taste.
11. Add the Butter.
12. Add the Mussels and Baby Clams.
13. Add the White Wine.
14. Let the stock boil again, and add more salt or water as needed.
15. Lower the fire to simmer the Mussels and Clams for up to 3 minutes making sure that all Mussels and Clams open- DISCARD any Mussels or Clams that don't open.
16. Remove the Mussels and Clams and set them aside for later.
17. Set the stock aside for later.

B- Crabs
NOTES
· In case you were able to get live crabs, use a pot large enough to hold the crabs totally submerged in the water.

1. Pour 1 gallon of Water and two tablespoons of Salt per Crab in pot and bring it to a boil.
2. Using mittens, carefully dump the Crabs into the boiling water.
3. Bring the water to a boil again.
4. Lower the fire to simmer Crabs for 15 minutes.
5. Using mittens, carefully remove Crabs from pot.
Beware that the Crabs and their entrails are hot!
6. Under cold running-water, remove Crab's Limbs and set aside.
7. Under cold running-water, remove Crab's shell.
8. Under cold running-water, remove Crab's gills, jaws and tail.
9. Clean any yellowish mater off Crab's body.
10. Cut Crab's body into 4 pieces and set it aside along with the Limbs for later.

C- Poultry
1. Pour ¼ of the Olive Oil in the paella pan and spread it evenly.
2. Raise the fire until getting the paella steaming-hot.
3. Add Salt to taste, 1/3 of the Black Pepper, and ¼ of the Minced Garlic.
4. Throw in the Chicken and fry it until becoming golden brown.
5. Remove Chicken from the paella and set it aside for later.
6. Clean the paella of any burned residues, particularly those stuck to the surface.

D- Seafood
1. Pour ¼ of the Olive Oil in the paella pan and spread it evenly.
2. Raise the fire until getting the paella steaming-hot.
3. Add Salt to taste, all Black Pepper, and ¼ of the Minced Garlic.
4. Throw in the Fish, Squid, Lobster Tails, and Prawns or Crawfish and stir & fry seafood until Squid and Fish are done but making sure not to overcook the Lobster Tails, Prawns or Crawfish.
5. Remove the Seafood from the paella and set it aside for later.
6. Clean the paella of any burned residues, particularly those stuck to the surface.

D- Sofrito (Sweated veggies)
1. Lower the fire.
2. Pour ¼ of the Oil into hot paella as needed.
3. Add the Sliced Mushrooms.
4. Add 1 cup of Chopped Onions (Save the rest for the rice)
5. Add all the Chopped Leeks.
6. Add the Thyme.
7. Add ¼ of the Minced Garlic(Save the rest for the rice).
8. Add all of the Minced Mint, Basil and Oregano Leaves.
9. Add all of the Baby Sweet Snow Pea and Fava Bean Pods.
10. Stir & sweat until the Onions get proper texture.
11. Remove from the paella and set the sofrito aside.
12. Clean the paella from any burned residues, particularly those stuck to the surface.

E- Rice
1. Pour ¼ of the Oil into the paella as needed.
2. Raise the fire until getting the paella steaming-hot.
3. Add the rest of Chopped Onions and Minced Garlic and fry it until getting golden-brown.
4. Add the Rice.
5. Stir & fry until the Garlic gets golden brown. Don't let rice stick to bottom.
6. Add Sofrito (sweated veggies) and stir well. Don't let rice stick to bottom.
7. Add Chicken, Squid and Fish and fold gently to avoid crumbling the fish.
8. Add the Butter and Stock (2 cups of Stock per cup of Rice), Artichoke Hearts, the Capers and the Olives, and fold gently to avoid crumbling the fish.
9. Taste the Stock and make sure it is salted enough, add Salt if needed, or replace Stock with plain water if too salty. Paella, however, should be on the slightly salty side.
10. Lower the fire to simmer the Rice until the Stock disappears from sight almost completely.
11. At this point add all the Garbanzos, Scallions, Parsley and Cilantro, and gently fold the paella again, making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. This should be the last time you fold the paella lest it could become mushy.
12. Adorn the top of the paella with the Mussels, Baby Clams, Prawns, Lobster Tails, and Crab Pieces.
13. Lowering the fire as needed if there are fumes signaling that the bottom of the paella is burning, let paella simmer until rice is completely dry.
14. Adorn the paella with Lemon Slices arranged in the shape that appeals to you, or to the occasion, the most.
15. Serve paella while hot and accompany it with a room temperature good Spanish Grand Reserve Rioja wine, or a chilled California Rhine wine.
16. Enjoy the paella today; clean the kitchen mess mañana!

 

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