Paella is Spain’s gift to the world; or to be more precise, Valencia’s legacy. The history of the dish explains how it was first made in open fields by mixing cooked rice with just about anything starting from snails to rabbits. The original Valencian Paella is a mixture of rice with meat, snails, eels, vegetables, beans and seasoning. Saffron is an important ingredient in this dish; the spice gives the rice its lovely color and flavor. Any festival or get-together in Spain is an occasion for a Paella lunch; this is cooked in huge quantities by whole communities. The dish is a part of the culture of the city and there are even Paella competitions.
Another version of the Paella story stems from the Arabic account of workers mixing rice with leftovers from banquets to take home. Whatever the story, the Paella has traveled the world and is now an international dish that has wide appeal and demand. The dish has got many faces; it could be seafood Paella, mixed Paella, Valencian Paella or a simple vegetarian Paella.
Here’s a recipe for Chicken Paella that’s full of flavor and makes for a good gourmet lunch.
You’ll need –
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 rashers Bacon
- 500 grams Boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 Onions
- 2-4 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 tsp Saffron
- 2 cups Short grained rice
- 1 cup White wine
- 3 cups Chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp Chili powder
- Smoked paprika – a little more than 2 tsp
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1/2 Corn kernels
- 1/2 cup Green peas
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Pepper and salt
- 1 Chorizo sausage
- 20 Cherry tomatoes
- Finely chopped parsley
Let’s go on to the recipe –
To prepare the ingredients –
* Dice the chicken to make 2 inch cubes
* Sliver the bacon into strips.
* Julienne the onions and crush the garlic.
* Make thin slivers of the chorizo sausage and keep.
* Prick tomatoes with a skewer.
* Add saffron to chicken stock and heat it.
If you have a paella pan, use it; else take a big wok. Let the pan heat up; then pour a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the bacon in it. Keep the bacon aside once it turns golden. Sauté the diced chicken in the same oil till they’re fully cooked and the juices come out. Once done, keep the chicken aside too.
Now, pour in the remaining oil and stir fry the onion till it’s pink. Stir in crushed garlic and paella rice. Spread well to cover the rice with oil. Blend in salt, pepper, bay leaves, wine, paprika, chili and a table of the heated chicken stock. Keep adding the stock little by little and stir continuously till there’s no fluid and the rice becomes soft. This would require cooking for about 35 minutes. Now, stir in corn, peas, cooked bacon and chicken. Once this is absorbed, put in Chorizo sausages and tomatoes. Keep stirring continuously. Garnish with chopped parsley and paprika.
Relish the combination of rice with different flavors. This is a dish that’s sure to leave you feeling full. It can be served as a complete meal or with light accompaniments like bread and salads.