My Messinia

Let’s get together for a Paella

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Paella is a frequent dish I chose to prepare for home parties next to some local dishes. It is an opportunity for my friends to taste something unusual for this corner of the world yet the ingredients can be found easily in any local supermarket. It is a colourful dish and the surprising combination of sausage and seafood makes it an interesting discovery for the

This dish is originally from Valencia and one of the most recognisable internationally Spanish dishes

There is a great variety of paellas and the one most known today is a far throw from the original one which I have never tasted although I grew up in Spain. The original recipe consisted of round grain rice, bajoqueta and tavella (varieties of green beans), rabbit, chicken, sometimes duck, garrofó (a variety of butter beans), and optionally snails with artichoke hearts and stems used as seasonal ingredients. Olive oil is used as a base, Saffron as the main seasoning and (sometimes) rosemary branches.The name paella (or paellera) derives from  a Catalan word meaning a frying pan.DSC_0023

The main ingredient of paella dish is rice and its cultivation came to Spain around the 10th century with the Muslims, Consequently, eastern Iberian Peninsula locals often made casseroles of rice, fish, and spices for family gatherings and religious feasts, thus establishing the custom of eating rice in Spain. This led to rice becoming a staple by the 15th century. Afterwards, it became customary for cooks to combine rice with vegetables, beans, and dry cod, providing an acceptable meal forLent. Along Spain’s eastern coast, rice was predominantly eaten with fish. The known  form of the dish can be traced back to the mid-19th century, in the rural area around the Albufera Lagoon adjacent to the city of Valencia, on the east coast of Spain.

Spanish food historian Lourdes March notes that the dish “symbolises the union and heritage of two important cultures, the Roman, which gives us the utensil and the Arab which brought us the basic food of humanity for centuries.

 

 Paella recipe

Ingredients  

olive oil (be generous)

1 onion  chopped

1 tsp each hot smoked paprika and dried thyme

300g paella or risotto rice (I use “wild basmati mix” white and dark)

3 tbsp dry sherry or white wine (optional)

400g can chopped tomatoes 

3 cloves garlic, crushed

900ml chicken stock

400g bag frozen seafood mix or only shrimp (peeled, clean)

juice ½ lemon other half cut into wedges

handful flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped

frozen green peas

2 red peppers sliced

2 country (horiatika) sausageDSC_0035 2

Preparing Paella

  1. Heat 5 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add 1 chopped onion and soften for 5 mins.
  2. Stir in 1 tsp hot smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried thyme and 300g rice, stir for 1 min, then splash in 3 tbsp sherry or white wine, if using.
  3. Once it has evaporated, stir in a 400g can of chopped tomatoes with garlic and 900ml chicken stock.
  4. Add saffron till you get the desired yellow colour
  5. Season and cook, uncovered, for about 15 mins, stirring now and again until rice is almost tender and still surrounded with some liquid.
  6. Slice the sausages and fry them in a separate pan
  7. Stir the sausage pieces into the paella pan
  8. Stir frozen seafood mix and the frozen peas into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 5 mins, or until the seafood is cooked through and the rice is tender.
  9. Squeeze over the juice of ½ lemon, scatter with a handful of flat-leaf parsley and ( you can serve with wedges from the remaining ½ lemon).DSC_0099

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