Tonight I made an absolute divine paella for dinner. Up there as one of my favourite foods, this divine mess of moist but not gooey saffron rice, chicken, spicy sausage, and seafood, can be as basic or fancy as you like. Tonight’s version was medium – not overboard fancy but had all the elements. And it tasted absolutely sensational – even better the next day (what leftovers there were).

My first ever paellas were devoured at “Jumbo” (or it may have been “Gallerias Preciadas” (sp?)) department store in Madrid, c.1977. I was a terribly picky eater as a child, and to find a food that I’d not only eat but beg to eat and then wipe the plate, well, that was pretty damn unusual. The paella at Jumbo was a huge mountain of orangey-yellow rice, meat, chicken, seafood, crowned at the summit with a large butterflied black mussel. Mmmmmmm heaven. The year my family spent in Spain is imprinted on my memory; paellas and visits to snowfields and char-grilled octopus and the Altamira caves. Bliss.

The one and only rule with paella, really, is saffron. Yes the real stuff is expensive but if you don’t use it, then don’t dare call the finished product a paella. A mixture of meats and seafoods is required, also – as afore-mentioned I favour chicken, chorizo sausage, and large prawns, but you can add/subtract with rabbit, chunks of pork, squidlets, mussels and so on. I also like to add some vegetables – for colour as much as anything – eg, fine strips of red capsicum and chilli, ditto tomato, green beans. And lots and lots of garlic, of course. The preferred rice is medium grain – short grain will result in a gluggy product and long-grain will be too pilaff-like. The rice should be well-cooked but still with a bite, like a risotto; unlike a risotto each grain should be separate, not a creamy amalgamated mass.

The best pan to use is as close to a proper paelleria as you can get – large, shallow with rounded inside edges. I use my gorgeous Le Creuset Buffet Casserole/Braiser and it does a superb job (is incredibly versatile. I adore Le Creuset cookware, worth every cent).

Please find below the recipe (I’m still trying to work out how to format within the WordPress template – forgive transgressions for the moment.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: