- 500 gr. of Antonio Tomas Spanish Bomba Rice (around 125 gr. per person).
- 800 gr. of chopped chicken, the liver is usually included.
- 250 gr. of ‘bajoqueta’ or ‘ferraura’, or flat green beans. .
- 200 gr. of “garrofó”. A variety of white bean, large and flat typical of Valencia. If the ‘garrofón’ isnot fresh, we will only add 100 gr. previously soaked for approximately twelve hours before.
- 100 gr. pureed tomato, the equivalent of approximately one medium-size grated tomato.
- 150 cc extra virgin olive oil.
- Saffron threads (alternatively food color, although it is not the same).
- One teaspoon of La Dalia Paella Seasoning.
- Regular table salt.
- Rosemary branch (alternatively dried rosemary, although it is not advisable).
- Water. As a general rule, we will use double amount of water than rice.
- ILVO Paella pan
The first thing we have to do is to level the paella pan so that the rice is evenly distributed and boils equally. To do so, we only have to pour the cold oil and check that it stays in the centre of the paella pan. Once it is well centered, turn on your stove and wait for the oil to be very hot to start frying the meat. Spread the oil with a spatula all around on the bottom of the pan to prevent it from burning.
Once the oil is really hot, add the chicken which we would have previously salted, and we will brown it slowly by cooking both sides in the pan. The larger pieces are generally left in the centre of the pan, removing the smaller ones to the sides to prevent them from burning. Repeat once more, as it is important for all the meat to be well browned at a low heat and slowly, so that everything is well fried. There lies part of the secret of a good Paella.
When the meat is brown we must move it all to the edges where we will have less heat intensity, and it is time to fry the flat green beans. Like the meat, the vegetables must be well fried yet not burnt, so constantly turning it around. When cooked, it is time to add the fresh pureed tomato proceeding in the same way: we move the vegetables towards the edges and fry the tomato well, making sure it does not burn. When the tomato has released all of it’s water, it is well fried.
Once all the previous ingredients are well fried, we must stir uniformly and leave it all to fry together for a moment. The meat must be well browned, and the vegetables and tomato well fried. Now we add the Paella seasoning and stir quickly, making sure it does not burn. It is very important to have a bit of water ready, and add it immediately to prevent the seasoning from burning, as it would give the Paella a bad flavor.
It is time to add the water to our Paella; we will add water until it completely covers the pan. Now add the saffron threads (or food colour) and the white beans. Now turn up the heat as much as possible until it boils.
When the stock is at boiling point, we will taste for salt and add a little if necessary. We will leave it to boil for 45 minutes more.
Now we must be prepared to add the rice, but before we must consider the amount of stock, we recommend there should be approximately double the amount of water than rice. The water measure –whenever the size of the pan is ideal for the portions required – is that in which the water level is above the internal rivets of the pan’s handles. Like the amount of oil or rice, the water measure is indicative, and experience is going to be our best ally.
Once the water has been added, it is time to taste the salt contents, adding more if necessary. It is important to highlight that the salt contents must be tried just before adding the rice, and it must be quite noticeable.
Then we must increase the heat again and add the rice spreading it evenly around the pan. Cook it for 5 minutes at high heat, then another 5 minutes at medium heat and 8-10 minutes the lowest heat. In total, the rice must be cooked for approximately 18 to 20 minutes, although this time differs depending on the hardness of the water of each place. The rice must be dry and the grain whole.
As a general rule, we will never add water once we have added the rice to the paella. If you see the rice is still not done and the paella is running short of broth, turn the heat down and cover with silver foil or a lid so that it evaporates less water. Never add water, if anything add boiling broth previously set aside in order not to cut the rice’s boiling process.
In Valencia it is also very typical to leave the rice on the base of the paella pan, toasted and crispy, this rice is called “Socarrat”. We can obtain the famous ‘socarrat’ by placing the pan directly on the ember, or the highest heat of your stove, immediately after the Paella is finished.
In Valencia, it is customary to leave the paella to rest for a few minutes before serving it. This rest is usually very good for the rice. As well as indispensable if it were a bit hard as it helps for the rice to finish cooking and to absorb the remaining broth. If it is still very hard, you can cover the paella with a thick paper and sprinkle with a bit of water, and then leave it to settle for a few more minutes.
And if we want to be really faithful to the tradition, we will eat the paella directly from the pan and if possible with a wooden spoon.
Recipe courtesy of Antonio Tomas