Paella is without doubt Spain's most famous dish. Originating from
Andalucia in the south, many people usually assume that it is
made only with seafood. It can and usually is made with meat and seafood. It takes its name from the wide, round metal pan in which it is usually cooked -
traditionally over an outdoor wood fire.
This pan is shallow, with two handles and comes in a wide variety of sizes from individual to absolutely enormous ones designed for ''fiestas''.
The strong flavour of the rice is achieved by it absorbing the juices
of the other ingredients during cooking. The distinctive yellow colouring of
paella comes from the addition of saffron.
Please note that this is a simplified recipe using readily available
ingredients. You can add other types of shellfish, squid, octopus, etc,
depending upon availabilty and taste. If your tastes don't run to
seafood, then try replacing the ''fishy'' items with chicken, rabbit or pork.
Ingredients for 4 people
Good quality olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
100g garden peas, frozen or tinned
1 small red pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
150g peeled prawns
250g cooked, unpeeled prawns
600ml seafood stock (or chicken stock)
300g short-grain white rice
Half teaspoon saffron threads (or paprika)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Soak the unpeeled prawns and mussels in cold water for a few hours
(or overnight) before preparing your paella.
2. Heat some olive oil in the paella pan or a large, deep-sided frying
pan and fry the onion, garlic and red pepper until soft.
3. Add the tomato, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Mix in the stock, rice and saffron (or paprika), season to taste and
leave to cook for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat some water in a saucepan and boil the mussels until
the shells open. If any shells don't open, please discard them.
6. Drain the mussels and keep to one side.
7. Add the peeled prawns and the peas to the frying pan and cook for a
further 5 minutes.
8. Stir in the cooked mussels and the unpeeled prawns and simmer for
about 5 minutes more, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
9. Traditionally, the paella is served straight from the pan (a
heat-proof mat is placed on the table first!). However, if you are using a
normal frying pan, then carefully transfer the mixture to a large seving
plate. Garnish with some lemon wedges.
Traditional paella pans, small and large as well as saffron and many other Spanish foods can be found here at latienda.com