Friday, June 8, 2012

(Somewhat) Authentic Spanish Paella


I'm really not sure if this really belongs in the 'Easy' category denoted by the name of this blog, but it definitely fits in the 'something for everyone' theme of most of the recipes in this blog.

Paella (pronounced pah-eh-la) is one of the most popular dishes to ever come from Spain. In fact, it can be said that no trip is complete without having some of it! The name comes from the type of pan that is used, although a large shallow skillet will do. There are a lot of ways of making it-chicken paella, vegetarian paella, seafood paella, which makes it something pretty much anyone can enjoy.

This is the 'original' version, called Paella Valenciana. This makes roughly 4 servings.

¼ (4 lb.) whole chicken, cut into six parts
¼ (2 lb.) rabbit, cut into pieces (can also use pork or the entire chicken)
2 cups uncooked white rice (you can adjust the amount if needed)
½ tomato, chopped finely
¼ package (10 oz.) frozen green beans
¼ package (10 oz.) frozen green peas
½ can (15.5 oz.) can butter beans
½ head garlic with the cloves separated and peeled
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
½ pinch saffron threads
½ tsp. (or to taste) mild paprika
salt to taste
(optional) dried thyme to taste
(optional) dried rosemary to taste

Over medium heat, heat a wide, shallow pan and coat with olive oil. Add the meats and garlic. Fry and stir until browned and move over to the side of the pan. Then, add the butter beans, peas, tomatoes, green beans and paprika. Stir until well mixed.

Now, add water until the pan is nearly full. You will want to measure it as you add, because the pans come in different sizes. Bring it all to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour or so.

Add salt and saffron, making it all a nice yellow color. If you'd like, you can add the rosemary and thyme. Then, stir in rice in proportion to the water (I'd say about half the amount of water). Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. When you are finished, all of the liquid should be absorbed and you'll have a nice spicy rice dish.

If you prefer, here is a vegetarian version. This makes about 6 servings.

1 ½ cups long grain rice, uncooked
1 large onion, chopped
1 12/ cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp canola oil (olive oil can also be used)
3 garlic cloves
1 ½ cups frozen green beans, thawed
1 ½ cups carrots, sliced
1 medium sweet red pepper, sliced 'julienne' style
1 can (14 oz) water-packed artichoke hearts
1 medium zucchini
1 tsp salt
½ tsp thyme, dried
1/8 tsp paprika
¼ tsp ground tumeric
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed

Before you start, you will want to drain the artichoke hearts and cut into fourths. For the zucchini, cut lengthwise into fourths and cut into ½ inch slices.

Saute the onion in the oil for about 2 minutes in a large nonstick pan. Add rice and garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Then, add the next nine ingredients, mix well and bring to a boil. Now, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, however long it takes for the rice to become tender. Stir in the tomatoes, artichoke, corn and peas. Mix and heat until everything is cooked.

There's also a 'seafood' version, which is considerably more complicated. It is to me, anyway. More seasoned cooks than I am (which is probably all of you) might not think so.

Now you know how to make a nice Spanish paella. For more information, visit Enjoy!

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