Paella perhaps is the most popular Spanish dish, it can be categorized into 3 different types which are:
- Valencian Paella (“Paella Valenciana”) – made out of rice, green vegetables, meat (chicken, duck, and rabbit), snails and beans.
- Seafood Paella (“Paella de Marisco”) – made out of rice and mixed seafood
- Mixed Paella (“Paella Mixta”) – made out of rive, meat (chicken, duck, rabbit), mixed seafood and vegetables.
Paella is a Spanish word that originated from the French word “paelle” which means pan and that pan is where this dish is usually cooked. Paellera is the common name of tis pan and traditionally it is shaped round and shallow something like a wok with a flat and shallow bottom. Paella originated from the casserole rice dishes of the Moorish Spain in between the 711 to 1492 AD periods where these dishes were introduced by the Muslims where fish and spices are mixed with rice on preparation. This then started to make rice a staple dish in Spain and the birth of paella where it was customary for cooks to mix rice with vegetables, beans and baccalau (dry cod) which is popular during the Lenten Season, (time where Catholics abstain from eating meat). Then in the 18th century Valencian Paella started to take shape where every special occasion Valencians cook this dish but with Water vole meat, eel and butter beans. Then 19th century came and ingredients changed as a sign or rising living standards, so rabbit, chicken, duck and snails were introduced. Since then the dish had evolved to what is served to us now where ingredients like sausages. chorizo, bacon and mixing it with seafood.
Now for this recipe the preparation will be way much different from how it is traditionally made and will provide an easier way of preparing the dish while having the same flavours and texture of the real one. The traditional way is a trick I haven’t mastered yet where my result will either yield an under or over cooked rice that’s why in the Philippines this is uncommon except for those households who have Spanish descent (like me) and those whose ethnic groups are either Tagalog or Cebuano as the whole process of making this dish should be precise and only traditions and customs handed over yield the perfect paella. Like the Spanish this dish is enjoyed during special occasions such as fiesta’s and noche buena, like now!
Merry Christmas everyone!
2 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1kg chicken legs, legs cut in half
300g medium shrimps, peeled and deveined
2 medium sized squid, sliced into rings
12 pcs green lipped mussels
2 pcs chorizo, chopped
2 red capsicums, sliced and flame roasted
pinch of saffron threads
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup seafood stock
1 cup cooked green peas
handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper
- In a pot add chicken stock and seafood stock bring it to a boil then add the mussels, cover and cook mussels for 2 minutes or until all the shells opened. Separate stock and mussels together.
- Pat dry chicken with paper towel then season it with salt and pepper. In a pan add olive oil then brown chicken pieces on all sides, once done drain and set chicken aside.
- Add garlic and onion in the pan then sauté.
- Add the chorizo and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove this chorizo and onion mixture leaving the oil in the pan, set it aside.
- Add additional olive oil if needed then add stir fry squid and shrimps until cooked. Remove seafood then set aside.
- Pour rice on the pan together with the chorizo and onion mixture, stir fry to mix evenly. Pour stock together with browned chicken and saffron, give it a good mix then turn heat off.
- Pour rice mixture on a rice cooker put on cook function. Wait, have a drink, watch a quick TV show. Once you hear the rice cooker click and finished the cooking process remove the rice from the rice cooker (this will be al dente at this point, if you removed it a little bit longer rice would be cooked thoroughly) and transfer it into an oiled shallow pan. Fluff the rice while adding the cooked green peas and flame roasted capsicums, once rice is fully fluffed turn on heat, then add all of your cooked seafood on top of the rice. If needed pour a bit of water to add more moisture the rice.
- Let paella stand in medium heat until you hear some rice toasting on the bottom of the pan, that’s one of the key elements of a paella called socarrat where it is served with a toasted crust.
- Turn off heat, sprinkle chopped parsley on top then serve with lemon wedges.