Here is My Version of an Authentic Paella.
What is authentic paella? It’s paella served in Valencia. And I’ll bet that no two Valencian restaurants prepare their “authentic paella” in the same way. Making any traditional dish requires certain givens. Paella is a rice dish seasoned with saffron smoked paprika and “other” spices along with meats or seafood or a combination of of the two. Many traditional recipes call for rabbit, too close to Easter. If your grandmother is from Spain and she taught you how to make paella, changes are that’s as authentic as you can get. If you’re board look at parts of several “authentic paella” videos on youtube. They are ALL different. So here is my take on the Classic Spanish Dish.
8 people were coming to dinner but I made enough for 10 hoping I would have left overs. There was plenty of succulent rice to allow for seconds. Everyone had a thigh, 3 shrimp and 4 slices of sausage. Rice and 2 chicken thighs were left for lunch the next day.
The only critical proportion is the ratio of rice to broth. I was using Bomba rice, an authentic paella rice from Valencia. It absorbs 3 parts liquid to one part rice instead of the usual 2 to one. You’ll be cooking the rice uncovered at a higher temperature than traditional rice so don’t skimp on the liquid. After adding the rice you want to make sure that everything in the pan is covered by the liquid.
2 cups of Paella Rice or Risotto Rice (If you’re not using paella rice, adjust the liquid.
8oz Spanish Style Chorizo, or other smoked sausage cut into coins
8 Chicken Thighs, skin on, bone in.
24 Large Shrimp (leaving the shells on helps to keep them from over cooking)
1 Large Yellow Onion, finely diced
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes (substitute ripe tomatoes if they’re available)
1 bag frozen peas
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 red bell peppers – roasted and peeled. If you don’t want to take the time to roast your own peppers you can sear the strips in hot olive oil and reserve for the garnish at the end.
1 Cup white wine
5 Cups of Chicken Stock
2 Large Pinches of Saffron
1 heaping tsp of Smoked Sweet Paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
About 4 Tbsp of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in the pan
- If you don’t intend to roast, sear red bell pepper strips and set aside
- Sear shrimp in some oil and 2 cloves of minced garlic about 3 minutes. Set aside.
- Season chicken lightly with salt and sauté until golden brown.
- Add onions, garlic and diced bell peppers. Sauté until vegetables are tender.
- Add the cooked sausage
- Add chopped tomatoes and cook for another couple of minutes
- Add dry seasonings except for salt.
- Stir in the peas
- Add wine and the broth.
- Bring everything to a boil. Before adding the rice you can taste the liquid and adjust
- Stir in the rice making sure that all ingredients are covered by the liquid.
- Boil the mixture on high for 8 minutes,
- Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. With a spoon push some rice aside and check to see if there is still liquid. A traditional paella will be crusty on the bottom. Crisp not burnt. If the liquid seems to be gone reduce the heat to low and..
- Replace the shrimp around the rim of the pan to finish cooking and heat up.
- Layer the roasted or seared red bell pepper
The pan I was using was a beautiful copper paella pan with stainless cooking surface. I brought the dish to the table so I could get all the Oos & Ahs before serving it up. A side salad and a nice chilled white was all the meal needed.
Ciao For Now
Speaker / Chef / Humorist