How to cook a perfect “paella valenciana” 

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This dish contains only ten basic ingredients, and are not what everyone thinks: chicken, rabbit, green beans, broad beans, tomato, rice, olive oil, water, saffron and salt

According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy paella is “a bowl of dry rice, meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, etc., characteristic of the Valencia region in Spain”, besides being the “pan” in which It does this. But if we speak strictly of “paella” outrageous definition narrows.

For the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin Rice of Valencia, the Valencian paella can only be marketed under that name if it contains ten basic ingredients its traditional preparation: chicken, rabbit, green beans, broad beans, tomato, rice, olive oil, water, saffron and salt. Furthermore, according to the region, other ingredients such as garlic, artichoke, duck, paprika, rosemary or snails allowed. No more no less.

First surprise for neophytes the crazy world of Levantine rice: in its traditional Valencian version, paella is a dish field, not sea. The mixed paella, in which the meat and fish is mixed, is undoubtedly the most popular beyond our borders, but it is a recent invention despised by the Valencians. Not to mention if this leads ingredients like peas, onion, chorizo ​​…

Of course, there are many other rice dishes in Valencia. And we can say, even knowing that it is a statement that unleashes controversy that Valencia and Alicante compete on an equal footing in terms of the excellence of their preparations. But “paella” in quotes and being strict only one.

Brief history of our signature dish

They have rivers of ink written on the origin of the paella and, despite this, it is impossible to trace its specific origin. Naturally, its appearance is closely linked to the popularization of rice as a crop, which must not extend the east coast until the arrival of the Arabs (who had it as a mainstay of their diet) and also improved irrigation systems created by the Romans along the Mediterranean coast.

Throughout all the Modern Age rice dishes spread across much of the Spanish geography, but the paella is an invention of the eighteenth century

With the progressive expulsion of the Arabs from the Iberian Peninsula also it decreased rice cultivation. many laws enacted by kings of the Crown of Aragon to prohibit the planting and harvesting of this food considered typical of the Moors are known, but in some rural areas of Valencia remained an important part of the diet and, gradually, his culture was resurgent and its preparation was sophisticated.

It seems that throughout the Modern Age rice dishes spread across much of the Spanish geography (including such remote places like Zamora) but it was not until the eighteenth century, coinciding with a dramatic increase in rice production, when the paella though still without that name began appearing in cookbooks and chronic rating. Only in the nineteenth it had instituted the plate as we know it today.

La paella se ha preparado tradicionalmente al fuego de leña. (Lereile lereile/CC)
La paella se ha preparado tradicionalmente al fuego de leña. 

As with most popular dishes, there is no single recipe for paella, although some rules so that the plate is as close as possible to excellence.

The first is to have a large paella, which allows the rice to cook evenly across its surface shape. This is the first major problem that arises when trying to make the dish at home: for it is good, the amount of rice should not exceed by much the finger thick, so to do, for example, a paella for six we need a container around half a meter in diameter. This makes it impossible to cook a good paella using a normal gas cooker.

If you want to make this dish at home well worth doing a butane burner. In a normal kitchen it can not be cooked properly

Traditionally, paella is prepared on a wood fire, but considering that most people no longer have home at home (or with a good garden) the supermini alternative is done with a gas cylinder and a burner for paellas. If you want to prepare well the dish is a costly investment that nothing makes a difference.

The second important rule is hit with the ratio of water and rice. Serve as reference the add three times the volume of water than rice, but it is a rule that can vary depending on the variety we use. As is the case with pasta, rice manufacturers report on packages of the correct proportion, we should try to follow.

Ingredients for 6 people

  • 600 grams rice
  • Middle-range chicken (it is important to be good, because the flavor of the broth varies considerably)
  • Middle small rabbit (important to include head and livers)
  • 250 grams of mixture of “bachoqueta” (flat green beans)
  • 250 grams of “garrofó” (white beans, large, flat)
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes (is also great using concentrated tomato)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • Saffron
  • 250 grams of snails
  • four artichokes
  • salt
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Water600 gramos arroz


Antes de empezar, debes trocear todos los ingredientes. (Gabriel Garcia Marengo)
Antes de empezar, debes trocear todos los ingredientes. 

1. The sofrito

First we cut all ingredients into pieces. Chicken and rabbit to a stew (you can ask the butcher to prepare it), green beans without threads and pieces of two or three centimeters and clean and well into halves or quarters depending on their size artichokes.

In the paella and we cast abundant medium heat olive oil and fry the chicken, rabbit, green beans, artichokes, snails and garrofó (the latter three ingredients are optional but highly recommended). Sazonanos well and pour the paprika when the meat is golden brown, being careful not to burn. Just after we add the crushed tomatoes and let the sauce is well rehoge.

Los valencianos son tan ortodoxos que se llevan garrafas con agua del grifo de valencia cuando hacen la paella fuera de su terruño. (Lereile Lereile/CC)
alencians are so orthodox that carafes are worn with tap water when making paella valencia outside their homeland.

2. The broth

When the sauce is ready add the water (time) in a ratio of three to one for rice. Calculate the correct measure is the hardest but it is better fall short to spend because we can always add a little more water if we see that the rice is too dry and has not been done yet. This may be sacrilegious to experts paella, but it is the only way to go seizing the trick.

Once you let the water must let the broth over medium / high heat for about half an hour is done. Just before throwing rice is a good time to add the saffron or, failing that, a seasoning of paella with saffron, which is much cheaper (again an unorthodox advice, but it works). Worth going testing to see if the broth is tasty enough and to correct it.

El arroz no debe removerse después de echarlo. (IStock)
he rice should not be removed after him out. 

3. The rice

Once the broth is ready we distribute rice for paella uniformamente. Tradition dictates add forming a diagonal line ( “easel”) from one end to another of the paella and then distribute it, but the truth is that if your brother is not present Purete can add it as you please. Now comes the tricky part. Rice soon be entre15 and 20 minutes, but time will mark the grain itself and the power of fire. The important thing is that all water consumed just when the rice has remained in the perfect spot, being completely dry and loose.

If you’re a first-timer, you should have boiling water handy to add a saucepan if the broth is exhausted and rice is still hard. Halfway through cooking we can also put a sprig of rosemary, which will remove before serving. Just do not ever remove the rice; there is nothing to disturb more like a Valencian.

Sí, el requemado es cancerígeno, pero está taaaan rico. (SantiMB.Photos)
Yes, the requemado is carcinogenic, but is sooooo rich.

4. The ‘socarrat’

There is a trick to achieve a good ‘socarrat’ gas burners similar to that achieved by cooking with firewood. Just before removing the pan, when the rice is just right and the water is consumed, you should squirting oil on the pan and turn up the heat to high for something less than a minute. The oil will drop to the bottom of the pan and will toast the rice.

Para acompañar esta paella nada como un vino de Alicante, Valencia o Utiel-Requena. (iStock)
To accompany this paella nothing like a wine of Alicante, Valencia and Utiel-Requena.

5. The reposado

When you put out the fire is important to rest the paella for about five minutes covered with a large cloth or newspaper (this is what always use the Valencians).

And now enjoy.