28 jul 2014

How to cook Spanish paella

An example of a spectacular 
seafood paella.
So far we´ve talked about the delicious Spanish omelette “tortilla”, and have shown you how to make authentic Spanish gazpacho. But what about the famous Spanish paella that everyone talks about? Have you tried it and are wondering how to make it yourself? What are the ingredients, and where did it originate? Dive into the Spanish cuisine with us!

The origins of paella 

The largest ever paella on
record weighed over 32 tonnes!
Paella is believed to have originated in Valencia, where it was principally eaten by farmers, who would cook it with rice and whatever other ingredients they could find, over a fire. The name paella comes from the type of pan used to cook it, which is a flat pan, available in many sizes. The only thing that never changes is the depth of the pan, as it's really important for the rice to have maximum contact with the pan.

Our recipe is for seafood paella, but the ingredients found in paella vary from region to region. 
For example, in Valencia it is often eaten with rabbit and chicken, yet it is also possible to find delicious vegetable paellas; perfect if you are a vegetarian.  If you are interested in hearing more about the history of paella, you can read the article on our blog!

Paella: The recipe

Here’s a tried and tested easy recipe for successful paella! This recipe is for seafood paella, one of the popular ways to eat it! However, if you´re not a seafood fan, you can easily substitute the seafood ingredients for chicken (or extra vegetables if you are a vegetarian).

What ingredients will I need to cook paella?

To make enough paella for 4 people, we suggest:
Use risotto or paella rice for 
a tasty paella!
200g rice (risotto/paella rice)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped 
100g squid, chopped 
100g clams
100g prawns 
500ml vegetable stock (if you can get hold of seafood or fish stock, that would be even better!)
A pinch of saffron (if you can't find saffron, turmeric is a good substitute) 
Olive oil 
A little rosemary
2 Lemons, quartered, to garnish.

Once you have all the ingredients at the ready: 

1. Start by de-heading and peeling the prawns.
2. Then, put the prawns in a saucepan with the stock and bring to the boil for five minutes.
3. Strain the prawns, but make sure you keep the stock, you´ll need it later!
De-heading and peeling 
prawns is easier than it looks!
4. Fry the squid in a large frying pan (but without any fat or oil). Once it is cooked, take it out of the pan and put it to one side for later.
5. In the same pan that you used to the fry the squid, fry the onion, garlic, green pepper and tomato with a little olive oil for about ten minutes.
6. Add the saffron, squid and rice, and give everything a stir.
7. Add the stock that you cooked the prawns in earlier. You will need about twice as much stock as rice, so if you don´t have enough, add a little water to the stock.
8. Leave it to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the last 5 minutes, add the clams and prawns, and the rosemary.
9. Taste the rice to see if it´s cooked. If it's still a little firm, add a little extra water and cook for a couple more minutes. Add salt to taste, and place the lemon quarters around the dish.
10. Let the rice sit for about 5 minutes, and then serve.


How was it? 

We hope you enjoyed your paella! Did you cook it for a large group of people, or was it quieter occasion with a few close family members?

Paella is the perfect dish to enjoy
with family and friends!

Once you’ve got the hang of the recipe, you can adapt it to your taste by adding extra ingredients of your choice! If you´re not a cooking fan, don´t panic, because there are plenty of paella restaurants in Madrid.

If you want something to accompany the dish, or fancy trying something a little different that's simple to make (and will without doubt impress your friends!), then take a look at Winefolly´s recipes for sangria!

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