Paella is a saffron steeped rice dish originating in Valencia, Spain. The traditional ingredients in traditional Valencian Paella include: chicken, rabbit, beans, rice, saffron, paprika, rosemary, garlic, snails and olive oil.
Sticking with a few key ingredients, it's easy to create a Paella to suit anyone's taste. This Instructable does not present a specific recipe, but some tricks we've learned over past few years.You will not find exact measurements. You can find numerous recipes for paella online.
This is a Coloradan's take on Paella. Criticism is expected and accepted.
Step 1: Important Stuff
Some important factors in making and enjoying paella:
1. A Paella Pan - Paelleras are traditionally round, shallow and made of polished steel with two handles (Wikipedia). Prices range from cheap to super-expensive. The traditional steel pans are a bit more maintenance due to the need for seasoning, but the price is much lower. Go with tradition.
2. Saffron - A spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus (Wikipedia). Saffron is expensive, but this ingredient absolutely can not be substituted.
3. BombaRice - Bomba is the supreme strain of rice in all of Spain. Bomba absorbs three times its volume in broth (rather than the normal two), yet the grains remain firm and delicious (LaTienda.com). If you can't find this rice at a local specialty grocery store, you can order it online. It's worth taking the time to locate the correct rice.
4. Smoke - Paella is cooked over a fire, smoke adds to the flavor of the dish. Use natural charcoal. Add aromatics, such as orange peels to add to the flavor.
5. People - Shared directly from the paellera, paella is an intimate dish shared by friends and family.
Step 2: Ingredients
Instead of a Valencian Paella, we created a Colorado paella for this Instructable. These are the ingredients we used to make a green chile paella.
2. Smoked Paprika
3. Bomba Rice
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5. Roasted Green Chilies
6. Roasted Tomatoes
Step 3: Saffron Soaking
To get the most from your saffron, soak it in hot water or stock. We used chicken stock. Start soaking the saffron before you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This will produce a fragrant saffron tea that will be absorbed by the rice.
Step 4: Cooking
1. Use natural charcoals in your grill. Using a chimney will get your grill nice and hot.
2. Add olive oil to the paella pan.
3. Add meat, brown.
4. Add vegetables, cook until they begin to get tender. Add the "softer" vegetables, such a tomatoes last.
5. Add the rice.
6. Add the saffron tea and stock.
7. At this point, your paella should will simmer. Continue to add liquid as needed.
Step 5: Attaining Socarrat
They key to making paella is socarrat. Socarrat is achieved by cooking the rice until it begins to caramelize, creating a delicious crust at the bottom of the pan. When the rice is tender, but not mushy, stop adding liquid. Don't be afraid of burning your paella, but check it regularly. Continue cooking until the brown, delicious layer forms on the bottom of the pan.
Step 6: Eating
Remove your paella from the grill and allow it to rest for a couple minutes. Hand out forks and enjoy with your friends directly from the pan.