In honor of our recent trip to Spain, I wanted to share a recipe for paella, a dish that originates in Valencia.
Valencian Paella is traditionally made with white rice, large white beans, flat green beans, tomato, meat (usually chicken and rabbit), salt, oil, and water. Spices can be saffron, rosemary and occasionally lemon. Variations include the use of artichoke, peppers, and seafood. Seafood paella is the most popular and widespread version of the dish.
We, however, do not eat seafood and so I decided to share our personal variation of the dish with you.
Paella is a great dish because when it really comes down to it, you can add in the meats and or vegetables that suit your tastes and remove those that you’d rather avoid. It’s very customizable.
Vegetable Paella Ingredients
8 plum tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 finely chopped onion
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (we like spicy food)
1 teaspoon saffron
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 cup of sliced artichokes
2 cups of sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 fennel bulb cut into small pieces
2 cups dry white wine
2 1/2 cups of rice
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Vegetable Paella Recipe
In a large pan, sauté the garlic, onions, capers and spices with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Once the onions have softened, add the vegetables to the pan and sauté them as well.
Pour in the white wine and lemon juice to create a broth. Bring it to a boil to allow it to reduce by about half. Remove the rosemary.
Stir in the rice. Add in enough water to cover the rice completely and let simmer until rice is cooked.
If you want to include meat in your paella: While the rice is cooking, sauté the meat after seasoning with salt. I like to do this in a separate pan so that it cooks well and I add it in to the rice just before it is done cooking.
Paella Making Tips
If you cook the paella in an oven-safe pan, you can wait to add the tomatoes and meat until right before you put it in the oven. It gives your food a nice-looking presentation.
If you decide to cook the paella in the oven for part of the time, you only allow the rice to simmer for 2-3 minutes before transferring the dish to the oven for 20 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit to finish cooking.
When including seafood, you can either include it as part of the broth, or you can sear it and then add it in as we did with the meat in the recipe above.
As I said before, although paella is steeped in tradition, it’s an easily customizable dish and a delicious meal that can be recycled and varied in a dozen different ways. This is just our personal recipe.
Have you made paella? What’s your favorite combination? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!