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Hello dear ones. Here it is summer and my thoughts go to vacations, the sea and good food. At this time last year, we were traveling around the charming island of Mallorca, where we came face to face with a dish that has caught my attention ever since: paella.
Now keep in mind that I have never tried paella before. But back then, in that small coastal town, in a rare Spanish restaurant, we found one of the best dishes, as always. I say a rare Spanish restaurant, because if you have been to Mallorca before, you will know that the island is practically German, and finding this authentic little gem among tourist restaurants was a revelation.
We ordered the mixed paella and some red wine and when the food came, we couldn't focus on anything else for about 10 minutes. It was just us, and that delicious paella.
And ever since we got home, I've been dreaming about it.
Now, at that time, I didn't have a paella pan and, by coincidence, I learned that I needed to use a special rice and, God forbid, I shouldn't cook it like a risotto. And that was probably the most difficult part, just letting the rice cook without stirring it.
The secret to good paella, plus great ingredients, cooking technique, and experience (of which I have) is to achieve a slightly crisp, but not burnt, bottom.
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So, the first time I tried to make paella, I used short grain rice, a sad and regular frying pan, and was very careful with the cooking. And nailed it. The flavor was fine, my rice could have been more yellow, and the bottom was delicious and crispy. But unfortunately the beginner's luck. The second time I was almost completely burned. I still haven't tried a third try.
I tried to make the mixed paella with some prawns and chicken, and interestingly enough, we learned that Mitja has a little problem with shellfish. So there is no longer any mixed paella? We will see.
Also, I learned that finding ingredients where I live is a pain. I could only find frozen prawns in a grocery store, no mussels, no scallops. Fortunately, later (for my second try) I found a fishmonger a few miles away.
Do you want to try? Here is my recipe:
Take me back to Spain Paella
At this time last year, we were traveling around the charming island of Mallorca, where we came face to face with a dish that has caught my attention ever since: paella.
- 200 g short grain rice
- 4 chicken thighs
- 8 prawns
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 0.5 l of vegetable broth
- 1 tomato
- 0.5 cup red or green bell pepper
- a handful of peas, fresh or frozen
- 2 pinches of saffron
- olive oil
- salt, pepper to taste
- thyme and paprika to taste
- 1 lemon
- Boil about 2 dcl of water and soak the saffron for at least 5 minutes. Wash and dry the chicken thighs, then season with salt, pepper, thyme, and paprika.
- Wash and dry your tomato, bell peppers, and prawns. Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Dice of tomato and peppers.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the prawns. Fry on all sides for about 5 minutes, then remove. Add the chicken thighs and fry them for about 15 minutes on all sides, until the chicken develops a crust, then remove them.
- Without cleaning the pan, add the chopped onions and fry until transparent, stirring constantly. Try to collect as much debris from the bottom of the pan as possible, then add garlic, tomato, and bell peppers and fry for another minute. Add rice, mix it with the sofritto, then pour in the broth. Season to taste, then replace chicken thighs and bacon again and let cook over medium heat without stirring, until rice is almost done.
- By now you should hear crunching sounds from the pan, which means the water evaporates and the rice at the bottom becomes crisp. Lower your heat. If your rice isn't done yet, just add a little water here and there and let it soak in, but be careful not to overflow it as it needs the crispy bottom (but not burnt!).
- About 5 minutes before the rice is cooked, add the peas and prawns and continue to simmer, then remove and serve with lemon wedges.