THE ULTIMATE SPANISH COMFORT FOOD
The name “Paella” is derived from an old French word paelle for pan. It is an ancient Valencian dish that sprouted from the need to feed farm workers, traditionally cooked over an open fire, the rice was bulked up with whatever they had on hand, often snails and rabbit. Over time endless variations and regional twists were created, the inclusion of seafood being one of these variations.
Whatever the version of Paella ("paella" pronounced "pa-e-ya" ) you choose, there are a few essential ingredients and techniques required to achieve an authentic result.
Bomba or Calasparra can be used, both are a short grain rice which absorb three times its volume in broth (rather than the normal two), yet the grains remain firm to the bite.
The stock is the centre of the dish, bringing the ingredients flavours through to the rice. If you don’t have time to make your stock from scratch we recommend using Aneto broth, its as close to home made as you can get, full of 100% natural ingredients!
The Paprika or pimentón comes in sweet, hot and smoked. It is ABSOLOUTLY essential to use a combination of sweet and smoked creating depth of flavour to your Paella. Standard Paprika simply will not do.
This gorgeous fella will bring the dish to life, we recommend ‘Pina’ Saffron as its considered one of the finest in Spain and around the world. They continue the tradition of freeze drying which retains the vibrant colour and aromatic flavour.
Spanish sweet red peppers that come tinned or in a jar ready to go. The softness and sweetness make them perfect for Paella and the traditional choice. You can of course roast and deseed your own.
When it comes to cooking the dish, the use of a pan known as a paellera with its two protruding handles provides the right proportions for absorption and evaporation. But never fear, Paella works just as well in any shallow pan you have at home. However, if you want this traditional look you can generally pick up a Paellera at any kitchen store for a reasonable price.
A sofrito is basically a concentrated sauce used to flavor the paella. It consists of tomato or tomato paste, peppers, oil, and garlic, which is reduced over a medium heat.
DO NOT STIR
It is essential not to disturb the rice. After the initial stirring, let the paella sit still to allow the grains to swell.
The sign of a good paella is a good socarrat, which is the crusty form created on the base of the pan. This will add a subtle smoky flavour to the rice.