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A Traditional Paella Recipe

Today, we dive into the heart of Spanish cuisine with a classic dish - Paella. Paella is a masterpiece of saffron-infused rice, succulent seafood, and an array of tantalizing ingredients.


Traditional Paella Dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Bomba or Calasparra rice (short-grain rice)

  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 lb (450g) of boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 lb (450g) of mixed seafood (such as shrimp, mussels, and squid)

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced

  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads

  • 1 cup of frozen green peas

  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preparing the Ingredients:

    • In a medium-sized bowl, soak the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of warm water and set aside.

    • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    • Clean and rinse the seafood thoroughly, removing any shells or beards from the mussels. Set aside.

    • Chop the onion, mince the garlic, slice the bell peppers, and dice the tomatoes. Set aside separately.


2. Cooking the Paella:

  • Place a large paella pan or a wide, shallow skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.

  • Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook until they are browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

  • In the same pan, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions become translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

  • Add the sliced bell peppers to the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften.

  • Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes until they start to break down.

  • Sprinkle the sweet paprika evenly over the vegetables, then add the soaked saffron threads along with the water they were soaked in. Stir well to combine.

  • Pour the rice into the pan and stir to coat it evenly with the flavors.

  • Slowly pour in the broth, stirring gently. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, without stirring.


3. Adding the Seafood and Peas:

  • Nestle the cooked chicken pieces into the rice mixture, followed by the mixed seafood and green peas.

  • Gently press the seafood into the rice, ensuring they are partially submerged.

  • Continue to simmer on low heat for another 10-15 minutes or until the rice is tender and the seafood is cooked through. Avoid stirring at this stage to develop the coveted socarrat, a crispy rice layer at the bottom of the pan.


4. Finishing Touches:

  • Remove the paella pan from heat and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

  • Uncover the pan and garnish the paella with lemon wedges

  • Serve the traditional paella directly from the pan, allowing everyone to savor the delightful combination of flavors and textures.

  • Remember to scrape the bottom of the pan to include the socarrat, the coveted crispy rice layer that adds a delicious depth of flavor to the dish.

  • Pair the paella with a refreshing glass of Spanish sangria or a crisp white wine to complement the flavors.

Buen provecho!



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