There’s only really one recipe you can day on ‘World Paella Day’ and it is, ofcourse, the classic Paella Valenciana.
So as you’ve probably already guessed the Paella originates from the Valencian region and the first Paella was made in the 18th century. The name Paella does not actually come from the rice or the mixture of ingredients or even the dish itself; it comes from the pan. Which begs the question what happens if you don’t cook it in a paella pan? I have a feeling there will be quite a few people out there cooking an unknown rice dish…we may be part responsible for that oops.
So what goes in to the 'Paella Valenciana’ well as you can imagine it was ingredients local to that region. Which were eels, runner beans and snails but as the dish spread across Spain more regional ingredients such as chicken and rabbit were added which created what we know as the Paella Valenciana of today.
I’ve included rabbit as an optional to this recipe. You won’t find it in supermarkets but if you ask your butcher you’re more likely to get hold of some. My local butcher tends to have rabbit around this time of year so you may also be in luck.
So this recipe is and isn’t a Paella Valenciana but if you go to Spain today and ask for a Paella Valenciana you’re likely to find this Paella.
Tip: If you are confident in your knife skills or get your chicken from the butcher then ask/cut chicken thighs (bone-in) in halves. It can be challenging cutting through the bone but with a heavy knife and force it can be done. This puts even more flavour into the Paella.
Paella Valenciana will also tend to have a bite in the rice so cook it for slightly less time.
500g Chicken Thighs, skinless
200g of Rabbit
100g Runner beans, 1-2 inch pieces
100g Broad Beans, drained
1 Paella in a Bottle
250g of Paella Rice
Heat you pan until it’s smoking then add rock salt and olive. Add the chicken and rabbit and cook till it is a golden brown.
Then add the runners cook for 2 minutes and finally add the broad beans for a further 1 minute.
Add the ‘Paella in a Bottle’ along with 3 parts water and bring to a boil.
Once its reached the boil, evenly add the rice and give it 1 stir then leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes
Once the liquid has almost been absorbed, turn the heat off and let the paella rest covered (you can use tin foil) for 5 minutes.
Serve with a few wedges of lemon.
Although we all have our own favourite Paella it’s always nice to look back at the history of a national dish and pay it homage. For us it definitely brings back memories of our family holidays in Valencia eating Paella on the sea-front.
Find out more about world paella day: http://worldpaelladay.org/en/home/