Tuesday, 1 May 2018

The better the stock, the greater the paella

History accords that paella combines the Roman and Arabic cultures. Arab conquerors introduced rice in Valencia. The word “paella,” may have stemmed from the Arabic word “baquia,” which means leftovers.So, historically, paella was introduced as the delicious solution to leftovers. And depending on where you live, you would utilize ingredients available in that region. It makes sense then that there are so many variations of paella today.Undoubtably, paella is Spain's proudest culinary achievement.Together with the actual cooking of the rice, making the best possible stock is the single most important step when making any paella recipe.A proper fish stock is essential if you want to get the same depth and richness of flavour for paella as the Spanish do.
Home made prawn stock
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
6 cloves of garlic
4tbsp good quality olive oil
1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
2 fresh bay leaves
shells and heads from 30-40  large prawns, from sustainable sources
200 ml dry white wine
1 litre home made fish stock
 Start by making the stock. Peel and roughly chop the onion, then peel the garlic, keeping them whole.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, paprika, bay leaves and prawn shells and heads for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the wine and fish stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until it starts to reduce.
Strain through a colander into a large jug and set aside until needed (when you come to make the paella, just reheat the stock until hot, but not boiling).


Paella de cerdo con gambas chouriço y espinaca
Pork and prawn paella
serves 6

7 tablespoons olive oil
550g pork fillet cut into strips

30 raw prawns,shelled
200g mild cooking chouriço, cut into small pieces
2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
2 large green peppers, halved seeded and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
375g calasparra(paella) rice
2 teaspoons sweet smoked Spanish paprika
2 ñoras peppers, torn into small pieces and infused in boiling water
litre and a half home made prawn stock(recipe above)
500g spinach, washed and drained
1 lemon cut into wedges
Flor de sal and black pepper
In a 30-40cm paella pan or frying pan, heat the olive oil over a high heat, then stir-fry the pork for a few seconds so it is still a little undercooked. season with salt and pepper.Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put to one side.Fry the prawns in the same pan until coloured.Remove from the pan and set aside with the pork. Turn down the heat to a low to medium temperature and fry the chouriço for a minute. Add the onion and green pepper and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. At this point the mixture ( recheado) should have caramelised and taste sweet. stir the rice into the pan to coat in the flavoursome mixture for a minute.
( up to this point everything can be cooked in advance. The next stage requires about 20 minutes more cooking time).
Now season with salt and a little pepper, for this is the time to season the rice perfectly. add your paprika and Nõras peppers, drained of their water, followed by the hot stock, and simmer for 15 minutes or until there is just a thin layer of liquid around the rice.
Meanwhile in a large saucepan or wok, briefly wilt the spinach with a little salt, either by braising or steaming, and put to one side with the pork fillet.Evenly scatter the pork over the rice followed by the spinach. With the back of a wooden spoon gently push the pork and spinach partially into the oily liquid that remains at the bottom of the pan. Cover the paella tightly with foil and let it sit for 3-5 minutes.

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