Paella is a dish that originated in Valencia, Spain and has become one of the most famous and beloved dishes in Spanish cuisine. It is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your tastes and preferences, but saffron is the key ingredient that gives it its distinctive flavour and colour. Authentic paella is made with saffron, a spice that gives the dish a bright yellow and unique aroma. If you want to make an authentic paella, here’s how to do it.
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 cups of Arborio rice
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 pinch of saffron threads
- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 pound of chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
- 1 pound of chorizo sausage, sliced
- 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a large paella pan or a heavy skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, green pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are softened for about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken and chorizo sausage to the pan, and cook until the chicken is browned and the chorizo is slightly crispy about 8 minutes.
- Add the rice to the pan, and stir to coat it with the oil and spices.
- Heat the chicken broth and saffron threads in a separate pot until the broth is hot and the saffron has infused into the liquid.
- Add the hot saffron broth to the pan with the rice, and stir well.
- Add the smoked paprika to the pan, and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to low, and let the paella simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed about 20-25 minutes.
- Add the shrimp to the top of the paella, and cook until they are pink and cooked through about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the paella from heat, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rest for a few minutes.
- Serve the paella hot, garnished with lemon wedges.
- Use a traditional paella pan if possible, as it allows for even heat distribution and a crispy bottom layer of rice known as “socarrat”.
- Do not stir the rice once it has been added to the pan with the broth, as this can cause the rice to become mushy.
- Use high-quality saffron threads for the best flavor and color.
- If you’re not a fan of shrimp, you can substitute it with other seafood like mussels or clams, or leave it out entirely for a vegetarian version of the dish.
When making authentic paella, using the right ingredients and following the proper techniques is important. Here are some tips to help you create the perfect paella:
- Use the right rice: The type of rice used in paella is crucial to achieving the right texture and consistency. Short-grain rice like Arborio or Bomba rice are the best option, as they absorb the liquid without becoming mushy.
- Don’t skimp on the saffron: Saffron is the star ingredient in paella, and using high-quality saffron threads is essential to achieving the right flavour and colour. Be sure to crush the saffron threads and steep them in hot liquid before adding it to the pan to infuse the flavour and colour fully.
- Use a paella pan if possible: A traditional paella pan is wide and shallow, allowing the rice to cook evenly and creating a crispy bottom layer known as “socarrat”. A heavy skillet or Dutch oven can work in a pinch if you don’t have a paella pan.
- Keep the heat consistent: It’s important to maintain a consistent heat throughout the cooking process to ensure that the rice cooks evenly and doesn’t burn. Start with medium heat and reduce to low once the broth has been added.
- Let it rest: Once the paella is cooked, it’s essential to let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the rice to absorb any remaining liquid, resulting in a more flavorful and cohesive dish.
By following these tips and techniques, you can create a delicious and authentic paella that will impress your guests and transport them to the flavours of Spain. So don’t be intimidated by this classic dish – with a bit of practice and patience, you can master the art of paella and enjoy it for years to come. So next time you’re looking for a special meal to cook, try paella and enjoy Spain’s flavours right in your own kitchen.