"Paella de la Casa"
Paella of the House - YOUR House!
This paella recipe is called Paella de la Casa, meaning "Paella of the House". Mind you: we mean YOUR house.
The basis of this recipe is a true and authentic Spanish paella using ingredients that you should be able to get in your local supermarket: onion, garlic, tomato, parsley, olive oil, stock, saffron, and rice. You then add your own extra ingredients, such as chicken, shrimp, fish, bell pepper, vegetables, or whatever you have available in the house, or whatever you prefer.
Paella de la Casa - A True Spanish Paella in YOUR House!
The Authentic Spanish Paella Recipe
For years we have been making paella on the basis of these small bags of ready made paella herbs that you can buy in the Spanish supermarkets. You simply add the contents of these small packages to the stock before you add it to the rice. Nothing wrong with it. They include everything, including the yellow color agent, and we have been enjoying delicious paellas for years.
However, over the last few years, while travelling through Spain, we have come to realize that the best paellas that we had, in really good restaurants, actually were not the vibrant yellow that we were used to, while they hardly ever had the "nice and dry" rice grains that we had at home...
So we went on a quest for the true paella recipe. Without the ready made bag of herbs, that is. And we found a couple, like the one on this page.
Paella Basic Recipe
The basic recipe for an authentic Spanish paella goes like this:
• Onion, garlic and tomato are sauteed in olive oil ("sofrito");
• The rice is also shortly sauteed in the sofrito;
• Extra ingredients are added (meat, fish, veggies);
• Right quantity of stock is added to the rice;
• Yellow colorant is added (mostly saffron, but curcuma is used as well);
• Herbs are added (mostly parsley, often rosemary and thyme as well);
• Check the salt content ("rectificar el sal");
• Cook for six to eight minutes on high flame;
• Cook for seven to ten minutes on low flame, or in the oven;
• Let rest for two to three minutes underneath a newspaper...
• ¡Buen Provecho!
The Pan: Paella or Paellera
The paella pan in the picture above is a real Spanish "paella" or "paellera". These paellas come in various sizes. This one is 28cm diameter, suitable for a paella for two to three people.
The round ears allow the paella to be placed in the confined space of an oven. After first cooking the paella on high flame for eight minutes or so, we transfer the paella to the oven where we allow the rice to cook to perfection for some eight minutes or a bit more.
Alternatively you can also cover the paella pan and cook the rice on low to medium heat until done, like indicated below under "Paella Preparation".
Paella in an Ordinary Frying Pan - No Problema!
Before we got ourselves a real paella pan ("paella" of "paellera"), we have been making paella in a normal frying pan. We have done so for years, and our paellas were always very good.
Except that a normal frying pan is not the real McCoy, the only thing is that you can not place a frying pan in the oven that easily, so you will have to cook your paella on the gas stove until done.
While doing the last part of the cooking process in the oven has distinct advantages, doing so on a gas stove is in fact no problem either. As long as you cover the pan during cooking (use a lid or aluminium foil) and as long as you keep the fire low, you will still have a good paella.
Paella in a Frying Pan - Yes We Can!
Spanish Paella Ingredients
For this easy paella recipe from your own house, you will need the following ingredients:
(as a meal for 2 persons, as a tapa for 6 to 8 persons)
|Paella Rice; ( buy )|
|Sofrito (made in advance);|
|Aceite de Ajo y Perejil (made in advance);|
|Olive Oil, for frying, so not Virgen Extra;|
|Fish Stock *);|
|Rosemary, finely chopped;|
Extra ingredients: about 500 grams of meat, fish or vegetables at your own choice **), for example:
|Chicken Wings ***) (or upper arms);|
|Gambas, raw, peeled (but with the tail on, if possible);|
|Fresh beef sausage, thin variety, in 1 inch pieces;|
|Peas, fresh or frozen;|
|Lemon or Lime, cut in quarters;|
*) For a succesfull paella, the balance between the quantities of rice and moisture is very important. As a rule of thumb, for the average paella rice we apply 1 part rice versus 2.5 parts of moisture (absorption factor 2.5), but we recommend that you follow the instructions on the package. (For example, for Arroz Bomba a factor 3 to 5 is recommended, depending on origin)
**) The above list includes the extra ingredients that we used for the Paella de la Casa shown on the photographs. Keep in mind that this is just an example.
Other ingredients that you might use - and which are often used in Spain for paellas - are, for example, diced chorizo, pieces of rabbit, escargots, mussels, small pieces of squid, octopus or fish, white beans, green beans or wide beans sliced into 1cm pieces, pieces of coliflower, strips of bellpepper, etc. etc. etc.
***) In case you wish to present this paella as a tapa, you should adjust the number of chicken wings in order to ensure that you have at least one for each portion.
Preparation of this Spanish paella is quite easy:
Prepare all ingredients in the right quantities and line them up so you can just grab them while you are cooking your paella. In that way you will minimize the chances that - in your youthful enthousiasm - you will overlook anything;
Preheat the oven to 430F (220C); (if not using an oven, see "Alternative" below)
Prepare the fish stock, add the saffron and rosemary, stir well, keep warm, ready for use;
Heat the olive oil in the pealla or frying pan (whatever you are using);
Sautee the chicken and other meat;
Add the rice, stir thoroughly to make sure that the dry rice corns get sauteed well in the Sofrito and garlic oil;
Meanwhile, bring the stock back to the boil, add to the rice, and stir;
Add the gambas and peas, and stir carefully though thoroughly;
This is how the Paella de la Casa looks like at the start of cooking...
Allow the paella to cook at high flame for like eight minutes or so; Do not stir (the thing is, the rice is allowed to stick a bit to the bottom of the pan, it's part of the tradition!);
If you feel that the fluids are evaporating too quickly, cover the pan with a lid or aluminium foil;
After 8 minutes cooking at high heat, remove the lid or cover and put the paella in the oven that has been preheated to 430F (220C), and leave it to cook further for another eight minutes or so;
This is how the Paella de la Casa looks like after eight minutes in the oven...
Get the paella out of the oven (be careful, don't het burned!) and leave it to settle for a few minutes covered by a newspaper (another tradition!); During this resting period the rice is allowed to suck in the last drops of free moisture and cook to perfection;
If you want to serve this Paella de la Casa as a meal, garnish her with a twig of rosemary, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh parsley on top;
Serve the paella as a meal, or as a tapa on small dishes or bowls. You may consider to serve it with some lemon or lime slices.
Paella at Home or Outdoors!
Paella originates from the Spanish province of Valencia. In the Valenciana countryside - where rice has been grown since the eighth century - the farmers and their workers used to prepare it in the field, over a wood fire, in a paella pan or earthenware bowl resting on a couple of stones.
You can use your frying pan if you don't have a real paella pan. And if you find it awkward to make a wood fire in the corner of your kitchen... don't hesitate to use your gas range!
The aim of Tapas Bonitas is to have you make a true Spanish paella - at home or outdoors - with the authentic Spanish taste, and using ingredients that should be readily available in your local supermarket or tropical store.
In that way we bring sunny Spain a little bit closer!