Do you know the most common topics about cooking paella? Keep reading and discover all of them before come to our Paella School and learn how to cook paella.
According to the Dictionary of the real language academy
paella (Del valenciano paella).
1. f. Dry rice dish with meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables, etc., characteristic of the Valencian region, in Spain. 2. f. Frying pan in which it is made.
The second option is the one we are interested in. It is the container, the paella (never paellera), the one who algo gives the name to the dish, although in Valencia it is usually used for any rice dish in which its broth is boiled to extinction.
The is a huge variety of rices that are cooked in the paella, the most famous are the ones with chicken and rabbit, but also we have the seafood paella, arròs a banda, arròs negre (black rice), vegetable paella and other dishes with pasta like fideuà.
Paella is, first of all, a social act in which family or friends meet, usually on Sundays, around a fire. You need a right place, outdoor, with space for firewood and chimney (paellero).
If it’s made in the paellero, besides the paella, we will need a trébede (tripod to sustain the paella) the we will place carefullt balances by its three legs to avoid the inclination of the paella.
Any type of wood will we valid, but valencian people belive the best one is the wood of an orange tree because it gives the dish a more authentic touch and aroma.
The critical moment in the elaboration of the paella is the cooking of the broth. That’s when we’re going to get the right hardness and texture of the rice, so fire control is crucial. It is a bit more complicated to regulate it with wood than with a simple gas control, but basically we should add fuel to the fire if we have enough broth or set aside firewood if we want the rhythm to be slower.
With a spoon
The world of paella is surrounded, as you will be seeing, of many topics and paradigms, although we like to call them customs. Among them stand out the fact of eating the paella with a spoon and making the paella occupy the center of the table, while the poeple eat form it, at least the rice and the vegetables.
You will ask yourself what we do with the meat (rabbit and chicken), or with the snails. Very simple, we eat them with hands, although it can be supported with an auxiliary dish.
Learn how to cook paella rice
There are more than 100,000 varieties of this cereal in the world, Oryza Sativa. Obviously to make paella, the rice should be half grain, never long. Within the half grain there are varieties, and some of them with Designation of Origin Arroz de Valencia, among which we can mention the japonica, senia, bay, lagoon or bomba, each of them with specific properties of size, hardness, starch, etc., that require different treatment when cooking them.
We will highlight a couple of common practices that can be applied to all types of rice:
- If we are not very conditioned by the number of diners, it is best that the thickness of the rice layer is fine.
- Never remove the rice.
The meat: chiken and rabbit
If we stick to the genuinely Valencian custom of making paella, next to rice, the main ingredients are chicken and rabbit, normally in equal parts, or more chicken than rabbit. Both are sofríen at the beginning of the elaboration of the paella and are those that more flavor contribute to the plate.
The Denomination of Origin of Paella de Valencia forms a wide area of land, and if we take into account that in all this the orchards and their rich and famous fruits abound, it is normal to produce a variety of condiments in the dish. Despite this, if we are strict, we will summarize the contribution of vegetables to the paella in 4 elements: batxoqueta (green beans), garrofó (lima bean), carxofes (artichokes, if season) and tomato.
Condiments and aromas
Also in this sector there is discrepancy of opinions, but it can not be missing to make a good paella, salt, olive oil, sweet paprika from la Vera, if it can be, saffron and a few sprigs of rosemary. If you want to learn how to cook paella with all the flavor, I would include, without any doubt among those, some snails.
How to cook paella: Different Opinions
Each paella is an exam, and more when you make it a day of family reunion or friends, with everyone swarming around the paellero, with more or less appetite, asking at first “how is that teacher?”, And ending by advising and finally to sentence that “it lacks fire”, “it smells like a burn”, “it is salty” or “it lacks flavor”.
Already at the table, you wait for the verdict, which is usually benevolent, mainly because of the appetite that everyone has, but that between their teeth they think about the defects with the closest diner. In this we are like with football, we are all coaches. Except for the profane, invited from a non-Valencian place, who enthusiastically devour their plate and congratulate themselves effusively.