Spanish Recipes: Paella Valenciana

Paella

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kg (2 lbs) chicken with giblets, or 3 small cicken legs plus a chicken carcass
  • 700 g (1-1/2 lbs) monkfish on the bone, or 500g (1 lb) white fishfilllets plus some fish bones.
  • 250 g (8 oz) prawns in the shell
  • 500 g (2 lbs) clams or mussels, cleaned
  • 250 g (8 oz) baby squid, cleaned
  • 500 g (1 lb) spanish medium-grain, or risotto rice, washed
  • 500 g (1 lb) onions, chopped
  • Tender pods from 300 g (10 oz) podded peas, or 1 celery stalk, chopped, plus 50 g (2 oz) mange-tout, trimmed in short lengths
  • 400 g (14 oz) canned tomatoes, with juice
  • 250 g (8 oz) green peppers, seeded and cut in squares
  • 100 g (4 oz) french beans, trimmed, in short lengths
  • 75 g (3 oz) cooked chickpeas or haricot beans, or frozen broad beans
  • 75 g (3 oz) peas
  • 5 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • About 150 ml (1/4 pint) olive oil
  • 150 ml ( 1/4 pint) white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 20 saffron strands or 2x2 g packets of powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

Start by making a good stock.
Strip the flesh off the chicken and cut into large chunks.
Joint the legs, then halve, chopping through the bone with a heavy knife.
Put the carcass (and giblets) into a stockpot.

Cut the fish into chunks about 5 cm (2 in) wide and remove any skin.
Reserving 6 whole prawns for decoration, shell the prawns, putting the shells and fish debris in the stock pot.
Add 1 chopped onion, half the pea pods, or celery stalk, and the bay leaf and cover with water.
Simmer for an hour then strain.
Measure the liquid, add the wine and reduce again until you have about 1.2 l (2 pt) liquid.
Pour a little over the saffron in a cup and keep the rest ready in a cup an keep the rest ready in a saucepan.

Prepare the shellfish.
Heat some of the stock in another saucepan and add half the clams or mussels.
When they open, remove them and discard the shells.
Cut the squid bodies into rings and keep the tentacles in a bunch.

Check through the recipe and prepare all the ingredients, grouping things that are added together.
Drain the tomato juice into the main stock and cut the tomatoes into strips.
The recipe takes an hour from this point.

Use a paella pan about 40 cm (15-1/2 in) across or a wide shallow casserole which will hold 4 l (7 pt).
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil over gentle heat and soften the onions.
Season the chicken pieces, increase the heat and fry the chicken until golden.
Add the peppers and the remaining pods or mange-tout and stir-fry for about 5 minutes - more oil may be needed.

Add a little more oil, then toss the squid tentacles in it, so they stiffen.
Reserve these for the garnish.
Season the fish pieces and add them to the pan.
(If you are not using a paella pan it is easier to do this in a separate frying pan, with more oil.)
Fry them on both sides and then add the squid rings.

Fry the garlic and add the rice to the main pan.
Stir the rice in the oil and let it fry for 3 -4 minutes, sprinkling it with paprika.
(If the fish was fried separately, fit it in now.)
Add a third of the hot stiock to the pan, all the beans and peas with the shelled prawns and shelled clams or mussels.
Stir the rice for the last time, making sure everything is evenly distributed, then tuck in the unshelled clams or mussels.

Arrange the tomato strips across the surface and pour in another third of the hot liquid.
Reduce the heat to the minimum an start to shift the pan regularly, if the heat source is smaller than the pan bottom.
(A thin pan, or a deep one, is best cooked in the oven at 180 degree C [350 degree F, gas 4] from this point.)

Add the remaining stock and continue cooking for 15 - 20 minutes.
Test the rice grain:
If it is cooked, decorate the top with the unshelled prawns and squid tentacles.
Cover the top - traditionally it is wrapped in layers of newspaper - and let it sit for 10 minutes for the rice to absorb the final liquid.