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Friday, December 31, 2021

The origins of Spanish Paella


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Have you ever learned about the origins of Spanish paella?

One of the traditional meals in Spain is paella, this preparation has an incredible history that is worth knowing. Besides, it is an easy meal to prepare at home, with simple, easy-to-get ingredients, and not too much cooking experience needed to enjoy a delicious dish.


Converging cultures

Paella is the favorite dish of the Spanish people, and even international high quality rice manufacturers offer recipes to prepare it, as you can see in mahatmarice.com/recipes/authentic-Spanish-paella-seafood/. So making a good paella today is not a difficult task.

The paella as it is known in Spain today comes from two different cultures, the Roman for the pan, and the Arabic for the rice. There is even a story that tells that the servants of the Moorish kings created rice dishes by mixing all the leftovers from the royal banquets. Moreover, there are those who claim that the term paella comes from the Arabic word baqiyah, which means leftovers.

The truth is that it refers to the pan where the rice is prepared, according to the Roman culture that used words like patella or patera, to refer to containers with different culinary functions. Nowadays, the paella pan where the food is prepared has two opposite handles and is made of a steel alloy to withstand intense heat.


A little bit of history

In Valencia, the paella originated sometime between the 15th and 16th centuries, when farmers and day laborers rested for lunch and used the remains of food from the celebrations cooking them on an open fire.

According to some historians, no dishes were used to eat the rice. Instead, it was consumed directly from the pan, since each one used his own wooden spoon.

At first the paella was prepared with poultry, field rabbit or hare, as well as with fresh vegetables. They mixed all together with the rice and olive oil, and cooked over low heat. Fires were made with orange tree wood, whose smoke gave the paella a characteristic taste and smell.

It is possible to find paellas in different presentations depending on the region where it is prepared, such as the Valencian, with beef, lamb, seafood, vegetables or mixed, so you can enjoy it in many ways.
How is paella prepared?

There are many ways to make a delicious paella, but the following is the traditional Valencian recipe, so you’ll enjoy preparing an old-style meal.


Ingredients:

  • A cup of peas.
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Two strands of saffron.
  • A branch of marjoram.
  • A branch of parsley.
  • A nice chopped onion.
  • Two cups of rice.
  • A green pepper and a red pepper, both cut into strips.
  • 17 ounces of shrimp.
  • 17 ounces pre cooked mussels.
  • 35 ounces of clams.
  • 7 ounces of sliced chorizo.
  • 17 ounces of pork chops.
  • A chicken cut into pieces.


Method of preparation

To start, you should remove the chicken’s thighs, breast, and legs. The rest of the pieces must be cooked together with the parsley, salt, pepper and marjoram to prepare a broth, then strain and reserve.

In a paella pan add the oil to heat it, and fry the reserved pieces of chicken, as well as the pork chops. When everything is golden, remove the pieces of chicken and the pork chops, and reserve.

In the fat released by those ingredients, fry the chorizo and the onion. Then remove the excess fat and add the rice. Mix well so that the rice becomes soaked in fat, then place the fried chicken, chops and vegetables.
Add the saffron and stir with a spoon for the broth to acquire color.

Pour the broth over the rice, add a few drops of lemon juice, and finally add the seafood. Cover the preparation with foil, reduce heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

After 10 minutes of cooking, add more salt and pepper to season the paella, add the chorizo and let cook until the rice is soft.

Following this recipe, you can prepare a meal that has been preferred by Spaniards for many years. The paella is a delicious dish that is worth trying at home, since its preparation in any of its versions is simple, and you’ll surely end up with a delicious result.

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