Paella is probably one of the most popular Spanish dishes, known and loved all over the world. There are so many variations of the dish. It seems everyone prepares paella their way, adding different ingredients to rice… And as a result, it’s hard to tell what is actually the original, authentic paella like…
I was curious and started “google-ing” 🙂 The origin of paella is in Valencia in Eastern Spain. Traditionally the “Valencian rice” was a farmers dish, workers on the farms were preparing a rice dish over open fire adding literally anything they found. It could have been tomatoes, onions, snails, beans, but also rabbit or duck meat. Today’s favourite chicken, was surprisingly used on special occasions together with a pinch of saffron. In time, the dish became very popular and cooks started adding different ingredients like seafood, peas and other vegetables.
The ‘real’ paella recipe, Paella Valenciana, should only contain chicken, rabbit, snails, green and white beans! To be honest, I’m quite disappointed that the seafood version is actually not considered the “true” paella! I love rabbit meat, but it’s not always easy to get here in the UK, and…simply nothing can beat seafood paella! 🙂
RECIPE: Seafood Paella
- 2 cups paella rice
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 cups of fish stock (I used 2 fish stock pots dissolved in 2 cups of boiling water)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)
- 150g salmon (boneless, skinless, cut in chunky pieces)
- 150g king prawns (cooked)
- 250g mussels (with shells)
- 150g chicken breasts (cut in chunky pieces)
- 100g chorizo (cut in small pieces)
- 1 pepper (chopped)
- a handful of frozen garden peas
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- In a paella pan or just a big, deep frying pan heat olive oil, pan-fry onion and garlic (I don’t have a paella pan myself, so I use a normal big deep frying pan and although you should stir paella during preparation, so the sticky rice builds at the bottom…I admit it, I stir paella and don’t like that sticky bottom bit :D)
- Add rice, turmeric and paprika, stir well to cover rice in spices.
- Add chicken and pepper, stir-fry for a minute.
- Add boiling water and stock, stir well, lower the heat and cook for 10 mins.
- Paella should start thickening as the rice boils and liquid gets absorbed.
- Stir 😀 and add salmon and peas, leave another 5 mins.
- Check the rice, if it’s nearly done and it doesn’t stick to the pan from lack of liquid, for the last 5 mins, add king prawns, stir them in and then add cooked mussels. If rice is too hard, add a little bit of boiling water, leave for 3 or so more minutes, then first add prawns and mussels.
- When mussels are hot, you are ready to serve.