Paella Valenciana

I might be English, but after making and eating this paella recipe from Victor Claver of the Portland Trailblazers he might just be my favourite Blazer (sorry, Joel Freeland).

A month or two ago, my friend and I asked Victor if he had a family paella recipe he could share with us to use for one of our Friday Night Dinners. He kindly gave us this recipe from his native Valencia with a message saying, “I hope you can make a good one ;)” and we made it for dinner this weekend (you can read the dinner recap and find the other recipes here).

Now, I’m not going to lie. When I read over the recipe and saw there was rabbit involved I was a little skeptical. I’d never eaten rabbit before, let alone cooked with it so I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into. {If you really, really don’t want to try rabbit, you probably can make it with just chicken instead of a combination of the two. Just remember it won’t be as authentic.}

To say it was an experience would be a total understatement. Taylor and I ordered rabbit and picked it up from a local store, not realizing it would be a whole rabbit and we would have to cut the meat off ourselves.IMG_6305

We got back to her apartment so we could start preparing everything for the paella before the rest of the FND crew showed up. Given that we had absolutely no idea what we were supposed to be doing with the rabbit, we went to trust ol’ Google and looked up what we needed to do. It was…unpleasant. But we sucked it up like the strong young women we are and got to it. It would probably have been better if we had the correct knives, but we made do with what we had and got the meat we needed.

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Next time though, we’re getting someone to butcher it for us. Not something I particularly want to do again, although it’s nice to be able to say I did do it.

This is a pretty simple paella to make. It does take time though, and make sure to follow the directions because otherwise I assume you’d end up with either a sloppy mess or a bunch of burned rice — neither of which sound very appetizing.

While we were cooking we got a message from Victor asking how it was going and asking us to send him a picture once it was done. It turned out great and we sent him the best picture we had taken (and we took a lot). Yesterday we sent him the recap blog post over from PDX FND, expressing our gratitude for sharing the recipe with us and he proceeded to tell us that we’ll “have to go to Valencia  and taste the original flavor ;)”. I think that sounds like a great plan and I’m so excited to go over there at some point (hopefully in the not too distant future) and try out a real Valencian paella made by a true Valencian. Until then though, this will have to satisfy my paella cravings.

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We also came across a store with an entire line of shelves dedicated to things from Spain, like this paella rice. Needless to say, I’lll definitely be going back there.

Here is the recipe, I’m posting it with step-by-step instructions and a lot of pictures because I think for paella, being able to see what you’re supposed to do is so, so helpful.

I hope you all enjoy it and once again a big thank you to Victor for sharing the recipe with us!!

Paella Valenciana

Ingredients

  • 700g (1 1/2 lb). chicken, sliced and slightly salted
  • 300g (2/3 lb.) rabbit, sliced and slightly salted
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • Saffron, to taste (or yellow food colouring)
  • 12 tablespoons grated fresh tomato
  • 400g (14 oz.) Ferraura, rotjet, or wide green beans
  • 100 g (3.5 oz.) Garrofón (Lima Beans)
  • 3 or 4 artichokes (we used a can of artichoke hearts, a lot easier)
  • 100 g (3.5 oz.) white beans or tabella
  • Water
  • 150 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 320g (11.3 oz.) rice (paella rice is preferable)
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Pour the oil in the middle of the paella pan and heat the oil over a high heat.
  2. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken and rabbit and brown carefully over medium heat. Paella success depends a lot on successful browning of the meat. 

  3. Add the chopped vegetables (beans included) and sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Make a hole in the centre of the pan, setting aside the meat and vegetables. In the gap, incorporate the tomato, fry for a few minutes, then add the paprika. Let it cook for another minute and be careful not to burn the paprika.
  5. Pour in the water close to the edge of the pan. You want the pan to be almost full of water. Add some salt and allow it to cook for about 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  6. After 20 minutes, you should see that the water/stock of the paella comes halfway up the rivets on the side of the pan.
  7. Now test the salt. The broth should be slightly salty as the rice will absorb some while it cooks. {The recipe translation says you should have a guest try the broth to determine saltiness, then you can blame them if it is too salty ;)}
  8. Now incorporate the rice. Make a slight groove with the rice, going diagonally across the pan. You want the rice to stick out about an inch from the stock. Add the saffron or dye on top of the rice. Uniformly mix the rice into the pan and cook over a strong (medium-high/high) heat for about 7 minutes, or until half cooked rice begins to appear. {I don't actually have a picture of this step, but imagine the picture above having a diagonal line of rice topped with saffron on top, then stir it all together}
  9. Now lower the heat to low/medium-low and cook for another 4-5 minutes. {Make sure the paella isn't burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan; if you need to slightly stir it to move around the grains to prevent burning}.
  10. Once the liquid has been absorbed, check to make sure the rice is cooked. If not, add a little more water and continue cooking, just make sure not to burn the rice.
  11. Finally, rest the paella for about 5 minutes, then enjoy!
http://www.bryonycooks.com/paella-valenciana/

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