Paella is a both the name of the dish and pan in which it’s cooked. Originally from the Valencia region of Spain, Paella quickly became a national dish. Each region prepares it using different ingredients, thus insuring that whatever ingredients you use, there will be a Spaniard telling you that you’ve done it wrong! (Canadians are this way when it comes to poutine)
So, let’s see how this Canadian prepares it!
- 6 diced chicken thighs
- 2 cups Arborio rice (think of this kind of like a risotto)
- 1 diced spanish onion
- 1 diced red bell pepper
- 4 oz green peas (frozen or canned can work)
- 4 oz sliced Chorizo
- approx 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp of saffron
Basically, you can play with the ingredients, as long as you have the rice and the saffron
Oh yea, and a paella. It can certainly be prepared in a large skillet, but the pan is what makes it paella. You can get them in most kitchen stores. I got mine in Madrid, but I’m sure you don’t need to travel that far.
Add some olive oil to coat the pan. Put at medium heat.
Add the chicken
and some salt
Stir and get the chicken cooking
Cook the chicken until it’s mostly cooked through
Add the onions
Cook until the onions start to get a bit clear
Add the red pepper
Add the chorizo
… and the peas
Mix it all together, let it heat through
Add the rice. Stir it all together
Add the saffron
Looking pretty good, almost there …
Cover the entire dish with chicken stock … really fill the pan, as the rice is going to absorb it
Get the dish simmering
Okay, so here’s where we get away from a risottto …
Cover the paella with foil and let it simmer over a low heat for about 20 minutes. You can test the rice and add a bit more stock during this process if you think it needs more, but DO NOT stir it. One of the distinctive traits of paella is the rice on the bottom should be toasted and have a crunch. You want to let this sit!
Okay, internet magic, time has passed …
Now, let’s get this to the table
Paella should be served at the table, right from the pan to your dish. This pan is for making a 2 person portion. You can get anything from single person to like 10 person sized pans! (Large pans must be prepared outside, over a fire … the real traditional way!)
Okay, this looks good!
Note the toasted rice on the top of this dish
That crunch is an important textural element of paella
Feel free to change up the ingredients. Make it with seafood, or make a vegetarian version!
Just remember, however you make it, you’re gonna piss off a Spaniard!