Paella valenciana

· 5 mins · 957 words

I learned this recipe from my father. It’s the standard Valencian paella. If you have only tasted this plate outside of Spain you’ve probably had a different version. This is the “almost” original version, which has the seal of approval from the Valencian people. However, note this recipe has some adaptations to make it easier to cook it at home. For example, the truly traditional recipe uses orange wood for the fire, but using a gas fire is still accepted.

There’s another version of this dish which is known as “paella de marisco” (seafood paella), which doesn’t follow the original recipe of paella. I don’t particularly care about how you call your recipes, but some Valencian people can get very angry if you say seafood paella is actual paella. According to them, it’s just “arroz con cosas” (rice with things).


Ingredients (4 pax)


Prepare the ingredients

  1. Clean the chicken and remove the skin. Cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Clean the rabbit and remove the skin. Cut it into bite-sized pieces. If it has kidney and liver do not throw them away, you can use them when doing creamy vegetable soups. I’ve never done it, but according to my father, it’s good.
  3. Salt and pepper the chicken and rabbit. You can add also some rosemary.

Prepare the material

  1. Level the paella pan and burner. How? Put the paella pan over the burner as horizontally as you can. Then, with the burner turned off, add some oil to the pan and check if it stays in the center or if it moves. Play with the levels until the oil stays in the center.
  2. Connect the butane gas cylinder to the burner. Be careful of doing it right, you don’t want your paella experience to end up in an explosion.
  3. Light the central fire of the burner (in case it has one) and set it to the minimum.

Prepare the both

  1. Add enough olive oil to brown the meat. Once the oil is hot enough add the rabbit and brown it. You don’t need to cook it completely, you only need to sear it.
  2. Move the rabbit to the exterior of the paella pan, where the fire is still turned off. Add the chicken and do as with the rabbit.
  3. Once the rabbit and the chicken are seared add the vegetables in the center. Sauté the vegetables and then add the tomato sauce. Leave it for around 2 minutes.
  4. Add one tablespoon of paprika. Mix the paprika carefully, if it gets burned the paella will be worthless.
  5. Integrate the meat, vegetable, tomato, and paprika.
  6. Light the outer fire of the burner and set it to the minimum.
  7. Start pouring the water. With the mix of ingredients in the pan we’ll prepare the paella broth. Now it’s a good moment to check again if the paella is leveled, with only some water and the fire at the minimum it’s going to be easy to level it if needed.
  8. Add all the water. Taste the broth and add salt if needed. The broth should be a little salty. Not to the point, but a little salty.
  9. Set the fire to maximum and leave the water to boil for around 20 minutes.

Prepare the rice

  1. After 20 minutes the broth will be ready. Add now the rice and the food coloring. If you have saffron add it now. Spread the rice in the pan, but don’t stir it too much because if not, it will release starch and it would be catastrophic (it’s not a risotto, it’s a paella!)
  2. Leave the rice to boil for 5 minutes at maximum heat. After 3 or 4 minutes you should start seeing some rice grains over the broth.
  3. Decrease the heat to the minimum and let it boil for 8 minutes. Not mandatory, but now you can add a rosemary branch.
  4. If after 8 minutes you still see broth, you can give it an extra burst of 1 minute with the heat on high.
  5. Shut down the fire and cover the paella with cotton clothes. Let it rest for around 3 or 4 minutes.
  6. Bon profit!


Once the rice is prepared you should eat it as soon as possible. As my father says

La pasta i l’arròs son molt senyorets: és el convidat qui espera el menjar, no el menjar al convidat.

which means

Pasta and rice are snobs: it’s the guest who waits for the food, not the food who waits for the guest.