Paella My Way

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My recent trip to Spain has broadened my knowledge of Paella. Not only did I not know Paella is a specialty of Valencia, but there are many versions of Paella. The Valencian Paella contains chicken and rabbit. The Seafood Paella features their fresh giant prawns with head and tail. The Black Paella (Arros Negre) contains squid ink. The postcard  I picked up in Denia, a town on Costa Blanca shows more versions of Paella than I ever imagined. My takeaway on Paella is that the coastal region of Spain offers exotic rice dishes and they are easier to make than you think. I made my own version recently on a weeknight and enjoyed it tremendously.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups short grained rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 5-6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 ripe tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon of paprika
  • Saffron threads
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon wedges to garnish

Method

    • Salt the chicken.
    • Heat the oil in a paella dish or large shallow frying pan.
    • Brown chicken pieces on all sides in pan for 5 mins.
    • Add the garlic, paprika and tomato.
    • Add water and bring to a boil for 10 mins.
    • Add the saffron, rice, salt and stir in evenly over the surface of the pan. Boil on a high heat for 5 mins. 
    • Arrange chicken pieces as desired.
    • Simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Add more water if necessary to prevent rice from drying out.

I found a Paella seasoning packets in a market in Valencia which made cooking this dish even easier. It contains saffron and paprika. I used one packet (2 grams) for this dish where paprika is normally added in the above recipe. You might be able to find this seasoning in a Spanish specialty store.

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