September ’10 – Week 4 – Saturday Lunch
What could possibly be more ubiquitous to Spanish cuisine than paella? This traditional rice stew is filled with tender meats and shellfish, made brilliantly golden by way of saffron, and is served with a fresh squeeze of lemon on the side. Paella is traditionally cooked in a paella pan, but if you don’t have one, you could easily substitute the use of a super large skillet or a shallow roaster set across two burners.
2 C Olive Oil
1 Red Pepper, cut in strips
2 Chicken Breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 Rabbit, cut into pieces (if you cannot acquire Rabbit, use 2-4 dark meat Chicken Thighs)
1 lb Shrimp, cleaned
1/2 t Sweet Paprika
1 1/2 lbs Green Beans, chopped
1/2 Tomato, chopped
4 1/2 C Water
2 C Snails, fresh or frozen, cleaned (if you cannot acquire snails, omit)
1 1/4 lbs Rice
Salt and Pepper to taste
A Few Threads of Saffron
Lemons, cut into wedges
Heat a significant amount of oil in the pan. Add the red pepper and cook until tender. Remove and set aside.
Fry the chicken and rabbit until golden brown. Add the paprika to add color to meat. Push the meat out to the edges of the pan and add the beans and tomatoes in the center. Add water until the pan is half full. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Add the red peppers, snails and shrimp and cook for 5 or 10 minutes.
Add the rice, distributing it evenly over the pan, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the water and cook for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add saffron. Once this is done the paella should not be stirred again.
For the last few minutes increase the heat, until the bottom layer of rice starts to caramelize, (what Valencians call the socarrat.) If the rice starts to burn, remove the pan from the heat immediately.