Country cooking has a totally different meaning when the country is Spain instead of Country as in Country and Western music!

I have been to a few parties where they served Paella and it is always a treat for the senses. The visual spectacle is amazing as well as the smell as each lawyer of ingredients are added as you watch and anticipate eating it. The different flavors of meats, vegetables, saffron makes you imagine having this dish in Spain and having 4 generations of family enjoying it.

Paella history: Originated in the country outside of the city of Valencia, where the fertile river valleys run into the Mediterranean sea, Arroz a la Paella is truly a masterpiece of Spanish cuisine. Valencia’s L’Albufera nature preserve provides the ideal spot for growing specialty paella rice, and the proximity to the sea make seafood plentiful. The locals would utilize a shallow paella pan, heirloom-breed Bomba rice, Saffron, and fresh seafood to make marvelous feasts in honor of birthdays, Saint’s days, and festivals.

The secret to a great Paella is in the sofrito. The mistake most beginners make is they skimp on the sofrito ingredients and think it is only the seafood and chicken that matters. The majority of the flavor comes from the Olive Oil, Pork, Spices, Peppers, and Tomato that are used in the sofrito. We are not talking about bland tomato rice here! We are talking about rice that bursts with flavor and re-affirms to you why Paella is such a talked about dish!

Ingredients:

10 pieces Split Chicken Wings or Wing Drumettes
1 Lb Pork Short Ribs (have your butcher cut the ribs into 1″ sections, crosswise cutting the bones)
½ Lb Shrimp (with shells)
3 large Scallops cut in half (or 6 small)
1 Lb Assorted Mussels and Clams
½ to 1 cup Tomate Frito, tomato sauce, or tomato puree.
4 Cloves Garlic (minced or chopped)
3-6 Piquillo Peppers (sliced into strips) plus a few strips reserved to use as

garnish
½ cup Peas
1 cup Green Beans (cut into 1″ sections)
1 tsp. Saffron Threads or ¼ to ½ tsp. Powdered
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups Paella Rice
4-6 cups Shellfish Broth (recipe below) or substitute Chicken Broth or bouillon.
Salt to taste

Prep Time/ Cook Time

30 minutes preparation, 35 minutes cooking (cooking time may vary depe

nding on the type of burner/stove/oven you are using)

Instructions

To make the shellfish broth:

  1. Boil the mussels and clams in 6 cups of water until the shells start to open. Drain, reserve the liquid, and discard any unopened shells.

For the sofrito:

  • Add the Olive Oil to the Paella Pan and Sauté the Chicken Wings and Pork for 5-10 minutes under medium-high heat.
  • es more.

    Build the Paella:

    1. Add the Rice and stir the mixture to coat, about 1 minute.
    1. Add the Peas, Green Beans, Shrimp, Scallops, and Saffron. Stir under medium heat for 1 minute to incorporate the mixture.
    Tip From Yaya’s Kitchen: Be sure to crush the saffron threads to release the flavor before adding. Also keep in mind that saffron releases it’s flavor with heat, so be sure to add it while the paella is cooking.
    1. Add the hot Shellfish Broth (recipe is listed above) to the Rice Mixture (add 6 cups if using Bomba Rice, otherwise add 4 cups.)
    2.   From the point of adding the Hot Shellfish Broth and the liquid coming to a boil, the total cooking time to completion of the recipe will be about 15-18 minutes (it may take a few minutes longer for deep pans, if using a small burner/stove, or if using a slow-cooking rice such as Bomba.) Do not stir after this point, and control the heat so the bottom is not scorched.
    3. Add Salt to taste (it is best to add less at first, as the seafood releases salt while cooking.)
    4. Arrange the Mussels, Clams, and the Piquillo Peppers reserved as garnish onto the surface of the paella.
    5. Continue cooking until rice is almost done, but still firm in the center (Al Dente.)
    6. Garnish with lemon wedges and enjoy the best Paella of your life!
    Tips for Beginners

    Paella is more of an art than a science, so it may take a little practice to be able to make it quickly. These tips may help:

    • Have your ingredients cleaned, chopped, and measured in individual bowls so that you may add them quickly when the recipe is cooking.
    • Be sure to use a big enough burner or stove for your pan. Ideally, you wand a medium-low flame that is dispersed over the entire bottom of the pan.
    • Cooking times are approximate; lower heat = longer cooking time, higher heat = faster cooking time (but at the risk of burning.)
    • The amount of liquid to add to the rice varies depending on the rice variety and the other ingredients you have added to the paella. When the cooking is half way done, feel free to add a little more liquid to the pan if the rice seems too dry.
    • If the rice doesn’t seem to be cooking properly around the edges because the burner/stove you are using is just a little too small, you may partially cover the edges of the pan to help retain heat and ensure even cooking.
    Regional Variations

    Each region of Spain has their own unique variation of Paella, so feel free to experiment. Journey to the mountainous regions by adding chorizo, rabbit, or judion beans; journey to the coast by adding squid or langostino (lobster); or discover your own favorite by experimenting with smoked paprika, onions, or even vegetarian.

    Other Paella recipes>

    If you don’t have time to do all this or have a huge pan. I invite you to go to the Laramie’s Farmers Market and check out  Sabor del Sol meaning “Taste of the Sun” -  Bryce Tugwell will serve you up some great Paella! check out his website>

    Country Cooking – Paella is a Masterpiece of Spanish Cuisine