Authentic Spanish Paella

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Seafood
Serves/Qty: 2
Marthinus Strydom

The flavors are amazing. The texture just perfect. Spanish Seafood Paella is a great social dish, that everyone around the table can enjoy. Make it in a large Paella pan and put it in the middle of the table.

The Story

A little history of Spanish Paella. It originates from a region of Spain called Valencia, which is in Eastern Spain. These days paella can be found in most Western countries, from the Americas to Europe, and it is especially popular in Spain. The recipe has expanded over the years, and now many different varieties of paella are passed off as authentic.

The most commonly accepted story of paella’s origins is that servants would take the leftovers from Moorish royal banquets and cook it up over open fires into delicious dishes they would take home to their families. The word “paella” may come from the Arab word “baqiyah”, which means “leftovers”.However, another speculation is that the word “paella” is derived from a Latin word “patella”, which was a flat plate used for religious offerings made to gods. One thing we know for sure is that paella gained popularity in the mid-nineteen hundreds when paella became a popular dish served to laborers. The workers would gather midday, combine leftovers with rice, and cook over an open fire. It is believed that most paella dishes at the time consisted of snails and whatever vegetables the workers could scrounge up, and meats like chicken or rabbit were only added for special occasions.

Today, paella is usually cooked over an open fire in a traditional paella pan. It can be made with rice, chicken, fish, shellfish, eel, rabbit, squid, artichokes, snails, beans, peppers, or any other variety of vegetables you’d like to add in Classic paella usually is made with rabbit, chicken, snails, beans, and artichokes. It is seasoned with saffron, amongst other spices. If you order paella outside of Spain, you will probably be served a dish of rice, chicken, and seafood. When cooking paella, it’s best to use a large, flat pan that is open and has handles on either side for easy handling.

More about Spain

Spain, a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, includes 17 autonomous regions with diverse geography and cultures. Capital city Madrid is home to the Royal Palace and Prado museum, housing works by European masters. Segovia has a medieval castle (the Alcázar) and an intact Roman aqueduct. Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is defined by Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical modernist landmarks like the Sagrada Família church.

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Ingredients
Adjust Quanities

3 cloves garlic
½ onion
½ red bell pepper
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp smoked paprika
sea salt
black pepper
2½ cup fish or chicken broth
1 sachet spanish saffron
½ cup arborio rice (risotto)
10 raw jumbo shrimp/prawn (peeled and deveined)
8 fresh mussels (debearded and cleaned)
1 cod (kabeljou), filleted
10 slices chorizo or other spicy spanish sausage
fresh parsley
lemon

Method

  1. First you want to cut up all your ingredients, mince cloves of garlic, dice the onion, dice the red bell pepper, also reserve the jumbo prawns that have been peeled and deveined and the cleaned mussels.
  2. Slice the Chorizo.
  3. Heat a paella pan or large frying pan with a medium-high heat and fry the Chorizo. Make sure it is nice and crispy. Add the garlic and fry for a minute more. Remove the Chorizo into a bowl.
  4. Add 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, once the oil is hot, season it with sea salt and add the onions.
  5. After a minute or two add the tomato paste.
  6. After 1 minute add the red bell pepper, mix and cook for 3 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of tomato puree, season everything with a generous 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, a generous pinch of sea salt and a hint of freshly cracked black pepper, continue to cook for 2 minutes, add 2 1/2 cups of broth and the saffron, gently mix everything together.
  7. Once the broth comes to a boil, add 1/2 cup of rice to the pan and then gently distribute the rice throughout the pan with a wooden spoon, do not mix or stir the rice.
  8. After 5 minutes of cooking add the prawns and the mussels, fish and Chorizo.
  9. Cook for another 5 minutes and then lower the heat to a low-medium heat (do not stir the rice after this point, you can give the pan a quick shake once in a while)
  10. After simmering for 10 minutes and there is very little broth left, turn the heat back to a medium-high heat for 1 minute. This is the technique to make the socarrat (burnt rice on the bottom of the pan).
  11. Then turn off the heat, cover the paella pan completely and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  12. Uncover the paella, garnish with freshly chopped parsley and a couple of lemon wedges

paella seafood valencia