Cooked Over A Wood Fire….Paella
July 31, 2014
Paella.....The most famous of Spain's culinary dishes. Incredibly versatile, today we share our own version of the famous, Paella of Valencia. Paella's origins began with the humble farmers, using whatever bits of meat and vegetables left over, the farmers of the coastal regions adding fish and seafood, bringing it all together with rice to create a much simpler version of the paella we know worldwide today. Simple honest and seasonal using the abundance all around us. A true sharing and dish of celebration.
- Prep: 30 mins
- Cook: 1 hr
- Yields: 1
A true Valencian paella's ingredients come from the produce of its fertile coastal strip, rabbit and chicken, tomato, plus several local varieties of green and dried beans. The tradition would call for local snails, we have omitted them on this occasion. After that there is no clear agreement: some insist on rosemary and others dislike it, pimentó is usually, but not always added alongside the saffron.
This recipe comes from Levante, a restaurant in the small town of Benissanó (Valencia), which began serving paella accidentally twenty-five years ago as an extension of the family's Sunday lunch. Since then, it has grown into one of the most respected paella restaurants in the Valencia region.
A wood fire is an essential part of the recipe, as much for the flavor of smoke as the intense heat, which produces the socarrat, or crunchy brown crust. The wood for the cooking of the rice is traditionally orange and vine shoots, but any hard wood should be fine (pine is too smoky).
Build up the wood fire. Heat the olive oil in the paella pan. When it is very hot add the chicken and rabbit, cut into small chunks, plus any trimmings. Fry very well until the meat is golden brown. Add the chorizo and the reserved oil from the jarred peppers, add tomato and the vegetables over the same high heat and sauté them briefly with the meat.
Add the stock, paprika and pepperdews, stirring it and adding a lot of love. Build up the fire to give a steady rolling boil over the whole pan. After a few minutes, over very high heat, add the rice, salt and saffron, stirring giving the rice a good coating. At this point the fire should be at its strongest; then slowly spread the fire out, allowing it to die down during the cooking to give an even socarrat (bottom crustiness). Leave to rest off the heat in the pan for 5 minutes before serving with a large handful of parsley.