|Paella de Verduras|
Paella gets its name from the dish which it is made in - a flat bottomed metal pan. It originated in Valencia as a peasant dish made with rice and left-overs. Gradually vegetables from the garden followed by chicken, rabbit and snails from the countryside helped lift Paella’s reputation into its current international fame.
Paella is the perfect summer lunch-time dish (the Spanish consider it too heavy to eat in the evening) which is eaten outside and always served warm, not hot. The best part of the Paella is the rice that sticks to the bottom. This is known as the Soccorat – named after a town close to Valencia, which was burnt down by the Romans!
There is no official recipe for Paella in Spain, no single agreed upon interpretation of the dish. Paella has nearly as many variations as there are cooks so I cannot give you a master formula but I can give you my tried and tested recipe for Paella de Verduras. The trick is not to add too many ingredients as the main celebration of Paella is the rice.
1tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2tsp caenne pepper
A pinch of saffron
1 Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and chopped
800ml vegetable stock
400g paella rice
Handful runner beans, chopped
1 portobello mushroom, sliced
1 tin butter beans, drained and rinced
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
Sea salt and black pepper
Place the saffron in a cup and cover with a little boiling water, leave to steep for 10 minutes.
In a paella pan, fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Add the tomatoes, saffron, tumeric, paprika, caenne pepper and seasoning and cook for 1 minute, making sure the spices are distributed evenly. Stir in the runner beans, mushrooms and peppers and cook for a few minutes, adding a splash of the stock if necessary. Pour over the paella rice and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and give it a good stir before turning the heat down to a medium-low setting and leaving to simmer for half an hour. To ensure the dish cooks right though, turn the pan every 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, cover with newspaper or a damp. Folded cloth and leave to stand for a further 5-10 minutes, while the rice continues to cook and absorb the liquid
Serve with a few wedges of lemon.