So today I have our recipe for Spanish rice with seafood. I won’t call it paella as Jamie Oliver received death threats from defiant Spaniards for adding chorizo to his recipe. So I will say that the preparation is similar to a paella but the addition of artichokes is NOT traditional. In my humble opinion if it tastes good go for it! I know I’ll get lynched for this.
The origins of paella are a bit hazy, it is said to gave originated from the servants of Moorish kings who created dishes by mixing the leftovers of royal banquets at home. Some say the word paella originated form the Arabic word “Baqiyah” meaning left-overs.
Most experts agree that the dish, as we know it, was developed in the Spanish city of Valencia.
The most traditional paella is made with rabbit so the majority of paellas aren’t authentic anyway. Besides, most dishes are a conglomeration of influences from various cuisines and is constantly evolving so there is no right or wrong way to make a paella in my opinion.
Disclaimer: this is NOT the be all and end all final word on paella/rice recipes and is not representative of the one and only authentic recipe.
Here is my version:
Half an onion
Two cloves of garlic
1 Tinned plum tomatoes
1 Tinned fried chopped tomatoes (fritura)
Paella mix spice
Prawn shells for fish stock
1 carton of fish stock
Cleaned cuttlefish rings
Mussels (cleaned and debearded)
1. Put a carton of stock and prawn shells and fish bones into a giant pot. Whenever I eat prawns I shell them and save the shells in a tupper so that you can use them at a later to enhance the flavour of your stock. Add water until the stock reaches halfway in your pot. Heat the stock on a low heat while you do the rest of your preparation.
Simmer the stock for 30 mins.
2. Roughly chop up the onion and garlic. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onions and garlic until it is golden. Add the tomato Frito and tinned tomatoes into the frying pan to create the sofrito. Add a teaspoon of paella mix and a pinch of saffron and salt. Turn down the heat and simmer gently.
Once it’s simmered and reduced put into the blender and blend into a smooth liquid consistency.
3. Wash and clean the seafood. Debeard the mussels. Place the clams in a bowl of water to cover and add salt. Place them in the fridge.
4. Now it’s time to begin the paella! The ideal setup is outdoors with a large paella pan over a fire. It can also be done over the hob. Remember that the best paellas are made by spreading a thin layer of rice over a large paella pan. This creates a crispy burnt layer called Socarrat.
Heat up some oil in the paella pan.
5. Add the blended sofrito into the pan and put in a bag of paella rice. Stir to ensure that the rice is completely covered and orange in colour. The rice should be spread out in a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.
6.. Now add the stock until it is completely covered and reduce the heat to simmer. Now it should simmer without stirring as rice dishes should not be stirred during the cooking process. Add the squid rings and the (optional) artichokes.
7. After about 15 to 20 minutes the liquid should be greatly reduced. At this point add the clams and mussels. Cook for a further 10 minutes. You will start to see the rice start to brown. Cut the red pepper in strips and lay on top of the paella.
Once the liquid is almost completely gone turn off the fire and cover the paella dish with tinfoil and let it sit for another 10 minutes.
Uncover and enjoy with a squeeze or lemon! Buen provecho!!