Saturday, July 27, 2013

Paella Valenciana

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This is my second paella recipe on the blog. Inspired by my friend's exploits while in graduate school in Barcelona, I suddenly had the craving for authentic paella. While trying to create a version that will satisfy somebody who has tasted the real deal in Spain, there was a bit of pressure on making sure that I cook this dish right. I found a recipe online claiming to be an authentic version of the paella in Valencia and two things were a big issue from the get go. One, where do I find edible snails? Second, where do I find rabbit meat? The answer, do away with both and just use chicken. 

The last time I made paella, I finished the cooking process in the oven but since I'm going for an authentic version, I want to cook everything in my aluminum wok hoping against all hope that the rice will come out perfectly cooked. It will be a challenge as I have not dared to do this before although I have seen it done a number of times by my Mom when she used to make the Filipino version of paella. The trick is to use the lowest setting of your burner and make sure that the top is covered well to allow the proper steaming of the rice. Overall, I made this dish in just under two hours and well, it was amazing. 

Paella Valenciana - Adapted*

2 lbs chicken thighs, skinned
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
1tbsp safflower petals
1 tbsp Spanish paprika
1 14-oz white beans, canned
1 14-oz brown beans, canned
1/2 lb green beans, edges trimmed and cut into 1-inch dice
1 green pepper, cored and diced
salt and pepper
1 tsp rosemary, dried
8 - 10 cups chicken broth
4 cups short grained rice
4 tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling

1. In a large heavy wok, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Season the
    chicken pieces with salt and pepper and fry until browned on both sides. 
    Set aside. 

2. In the same wok, saute the garlic and onions. Season with salt and pepper 
    and cook until softened. 

3. Add the safflower petals, rosemary and the paprika and cook for 30 
    seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute. 

4. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Return the chicken pieces and lower 
    the flame to medium heat. Cook for ten minutes. 

5. Add the green pepper, the green beans and the rice and stir well. If 
    needed, add more broth. 

6. Spoon in the brown and white beans and combine well. Cook until almost 
    all the liquid has evaporated. 

7. Flatten the paella and drizzle with olive oil all over and cover with 
    aluminum foil. Secure the foil with a heavy pot cover and lower the heat to
    the lowest setting to allow the paella to cook until the rice is tender. 

8. Serve in the cooking wok with lemon wedges. 

*Paella Valenciana of Restaurante Galbis.

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