Welcome to Spain friends of Paulina Cocina! Bah, we’re not really there but let’s pretend we are because today’s recipe is more Spanish than Lola Flores. Who doesn’t know Valencian paella? And the socarrat?
Well, maybe they don’t know so many details and that’s why we are here, to learn that and much more. We are also going to see a simple recipe for Valencian paella so that you can make it in just a few steps as if you were experts.
About the Valencian paella
The Valencian paella It is an emblematic dish of Spanish gastronomy, originating in the Valencia region. It has transcended borders and has become a symbol of Spanish culinary culture. Its combination of fresh ingredients and its peculiar cooking method in a wide, shallow pan make it a unique gastronomic experience.
What is Valencian paella and what does it contain?
The original Valencian paella It is characterized by its fresh and local ingredients. The essential components are short grain rice, rabbit, chicken, green beans, garrofon (a native legume), tomato, olive oil, saffron, pepper and water. These elements are carefully combined to create a balanced and distinctive flavor.
The type of rice essential for Valencian paella It is the short grain, which absorbs the flavors without becoming too soft. Its texture is essential for the success of this dish. The ratio of rice to broth is essential, as the rice must cook evenly without turning into soupy rice.
What is the classic Valencian paella recipe like?
The authentic preparation of the Valencian paella It begins with sautéing the base ingredients: onion, red pepper and tomato. Once they are tender, the rabbit and chicken are added to brown them. Then the garrofon and green beans are added. After they have been mixed and cooked, the rice is added and stirred so that it is infused with the flavors.
Saffron, which provides the characteristic yellow color and unique flavor, is dissolved in hot water and added to the paella. As the rice absorbs the liquid, avoid stirring so that the “socarrat” forms, a golden, crispy layer on the bottom. The paella is cooked over medium heat until the rice is cooked and allowed to rest before serving.
Differences between classic paella and traditional Valencian paella
The traditional Valencian paella It stands out for its authenticity and the unique combination of ingredients that give it its distinctive flavor. Unlike other variants of paella such as seafood paella, the recipe of the Valencian paella stays true to its roots and uses essential ingredients such as rabbit, chicken, garrofon and green beans.
- These local elements are fundamental to capture the essence of the Valencian cuisine and provide a balance of flavors that distinguish it from other paellas.
- Another significant difference lies in the cooking technique. The Valencian paella It is cooked in a wide, shallow pan over an open fire or specialized stove.
This cooking technique in a paella pan allows the rice to cook evenly and form the golden, crispy layer known as “socarrat.” This feature is emblematic of the authentic Valencian paella and adds a unique texture and flavor that differentiates it from other varieties.
Green beans, the star ingredient
In the recipe for traditional Valencian paella, one of the key ingredients is green beans. This bean, known as “garrofon”, plays a fundamental role in the creation of authentic Valencian paella.
The garrofón is a legume native to the Valencia region, and its presence in paella provides flavor, texture and a touch of originality that distinguishes this variant of paella from others.
Garrofon is larger and firmer than common green beans, and its flavor is unique compared to other legumes. His contribution to the Valencian paella It lies not only in its culinary contribution, but also in its historical and cultural connection with the region.
Its incorporation into the recipe highlights the importance of using local and traditional ingredients to preserve the authenticity of this emblematic dish.
Pairings and accompaniments for Valencian paella
The traditional Valencian paella It is a dish full of intense and varied flavors, and is usually served as a main dish at family and festive meals. It is often accompanied by a selection of fresh options that complement and enhance its characteristic flavor.
A fresh salad of lettuce, tomato and onion with a light vinaigrette is a common option to accompany paella. This refreshing and simple salad provides a nice balance to the rich, robust flavors of paella.
In addition to the salad, it is common to serve a variety of breads and sauces alongside the Valencian paella. The bread, whether in the form of a crusty baguette or village bread, allows diners to enjoy the delicious sauce and juices of the paella.
The classic accompaniment
Dips like aioli, a garlic mayonnaise, are often served, adding a touch of extra flavor and creaminess to every bite.
For those wanting a wine pairing, dry white wines or young red wines from the region are a popular choice. White wine highlights the fresh flavors and nuances of seafood or chicken, while a young red complements the rich, earthy flavors of paella with rabbit and meats.
Ultimately, the accompaniments chosen depend on personal preferences and the desire to balance and enhance the flavors of the traditional Valencian paella.
Follow me on Instagram (here)
And on YouTube I upload new videos every week (click here)
Valencian paella recipe
Yield: 4 portions
Preparation time: 2 hours
- 300 g short grain rice (bomba variety)
- 400 g chopped rabbit
- 400 g of chopped chicken
- 150 gr of garrofon (special green bean)
- 150 g green beans
- 1 large red pepper
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1 g saffron
- 1.2 l of poultry or fish broth (approximately)
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
How to make a Valencian paella
- Heat olive oil in the paella pan and fry the rabbit and chicken until golden brown. Remove and reserve.
- In the same oil, sauté the chopped red pepper and tomato until they soften. Add the garrofon and the green beans, and cook together with the vegetables.
- Add the saffron and rice, and stir so that they are infused with the flavors. Add the rabbit and chicken back to the paella pan.
- Pour in the hot broth so that the paella has enough liquid to cook the rice. Avoid stirring from this point on.
- Cook the paella over medium-high heat until the rice absorbs the liquid and is tender. As it cooks, it will form the socarrat at the base.
- Remove the paella from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.