It comes without saying that I would love Paella. Reason? I love rice.
Paella is a Spanish dish, specifically Valencian. It is actually traditionally cooked by men on Sundays as it is a day of rest for women. It is cooked over open fire, but there have been many varieties thereof. There are 3 main types; the original Valencian paella with beans, green veggies, meat(chicken, rabbit, snails). The 2nd type is the Seafood paella with a mix of fish replacing the meat, such as mussels, line fish, shrimp, prawns etc, while omitting the green veggies and beans. And the 3rd is the mixed paella which is pretty much a freestyle combination of meat, seafood and veggies.
Paella is similar to pilaf, gumbo and jambalaya. The difference between Paella and Pilaf rice is that pilaf is roasted in oil before the addition of stock, while in paella the rice is boiled in stock without roasting. Gumbo is more of a soup served with rice. Paella actually means pan. All according to Wikipedia.
This dish is also perfect for hiding veggies from my son.
Dinner tonight: Spicy Spanish Mixed Paella
What do you need? Serves 4
- Meat- 3 chicken breasts, lean beef mince, prawns( 4 per person).
Rice- long grain or whichever you have as long as it’s not sticky rice.
Veggies- 1 onion, 1 spring onion, 1 tbs of garlic, half a yellow and red pepper, 1 carrot, tomatoes( 8 cherry), green beans.
Spices- 2 bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, paprika, cinnamon, oregano, sweet basil, turmeric( I’m using turmeric instead of saffron as it’s much cheaper and gives the same colour).
The traditional way of preparation is cooking everything in one pan. But I prefer cooking the rice separately, with the same flavours as it would have if cooked together. This gives me better control of the cooking times. It’s import to not overlook any part of this dish.
- The rice- I’m using long grain, it’s the one I have in my pantry and other rices are expensive. In a pot with a cup of rice, add chicken stock( homemade with chicken bones and skin, veggies), 1 tbs of turmeric, pinch of salt, 1 tsp of white pepper. Cook until soft and fluffy, approximately 15-20 min.
In a large pan with olive oil, add finely chopped onion, 2 whole bay leaves and soften onion. Then add 1 tbs of garlic, finely chopped peppers, 1 spring onion and diced tomatoes. Combine and soften.
In 5 min, add chicken cut into strips. Season with 1 tsp each of; cinnamon, paprika, white pepper, oregano, sweet basil, turmeric. Combine well and add 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Cook for 5 min.
After 5 min, add the cooked rice.
In 2 min add prawns, beef mince, green beans and carrots( these take the least amount of time to cook and you need the carrot and beans al dente). Continue cooking for another 5 min.
I enjoy my paella with a bit of spice and my son handles his spice very well. So I finish the paella with 1/2 tsp of chili flakes, and tsp of parsley and coriander. Obviously the chili flakes are optional or to your taste. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
And it’s done. Buen Provecho!