Contributed by: Jerry Blackburn
Paella is one of the best known of Spanish dishes. The dish originated in the Valencia region and spread throughout the country and around the world. The original dish was very simple, using any meat and vegetables that were available. As the popularity grew and the dish spread, many variations have been seen.
Basic Paella Recipe
A basic paella recipe is cooked in a paella pot. This is a large, flat, shallow pan. These pans can be found in kitchen stores or on the internet. The original recipes call for the dish to be cooked over an open flame. Most people now cook it on the stove top. In some areas, the open fire method is still used.
There are three main ingredients in a basic recipe. These are rice, olive oil and saffron. The dish is garnished with both fresh vegetables and rice. The original dish called for whatever meats and vegetables were available. There are many variations of the dish using different meats and vegetables.
The basic recipe calls for the meat and vegetable to be stir fried in olive oil. Once this is done, the rice is added to the pot. The boiling stock is added and the mixture is boiled. When the rice is cooked, the pan is removed from the heat. Once the dish is removed, you need to allow time for the rice to absorb the excess liquid.
Origins and Variations of Paella Recipes
This dish originated in Valencia. Traditionally, people used any meat they had available. In the coastal areas, seafood was often used. In other areas, rabbit or duck were commonly used in the dish. The one constant was that only Valencia rice was used. This dish was often eaten on Sundays with friends and family.
The recipe for paella spread from Valencia to other areas of Spain and then it spread through the Philippines, South America and North America as people travelled to and from Spain. As the popularity of the dish spread, more variations were seen. The preparation and serving became more elaborate.
There are several variations of the recipe throughout the country. A variety of locally caught fish is used in the coastal areas. Shellfish paella is another common variation in the coastal areas of the country. There are some less common, but still somewhat popular variations in other areas using rabbit, lobster and mussels.
Large pans are used to cook the dish for crowds. The dish is often served at festivals, parties, political campaigns and reunions. At these events, a very large pan is used. The dish is cooked over a fire outside at these events.
People in Valencia continue to take this dish seriously. There are two types of rice that are used. The dish is served with either red or white wine, depending on the ingredients used in the particularly recipe. The pan is placed in the center of the table and guests serve themselves.
Paella is one of those dishes that are excellent when eaten the next day. As the dish sits, the flavours have a chance to mix together and get stronger. As you travel through the country, sample the local dishes. Collect recipes so you can try your favourites at home.
About The Author:
Jerry Blackburn publishes predominantly for http://www.alicante-spain.com , an online site on the topic of Spain and cooking. Writing for publications (for example http://www.alicante-spain.com/spain-tips/paella.html on paella) he confirmed his deep knowledge on the topic.
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