My mother-in-law gave me a paella pan for Christmas several years ago and I use it about once a year. I love paella and it's really not that difficult to make. It's great if you're having several people over for dinner, but it's impossible to make less (paella recipes are designed for a particular size pan and really can't be scaled down). It just gets difficult to make for 2 people (but we do it sometimes and just really enjoy the leftovers for a couple days.
I got this recipe from The New Spanish Table cookbook. It's a fantastic cookbook with plenty of great recipes, yet I seem to only ever make one thing from it: the very traditional Valencia style Paella. I real paella is cooked over an open fire so it shouldn't be seafood, but a mix of land animals and vegetables. This one brings all of those things together beautifully (this one also has shrimp, simply because I felt like it, but the recipe given here will be without shrimp). I've never changed up this recipe because it's just so good as it is. Give it a try sometime if you just happen to have a 15 inch paella pan lying around your house.
Classic Valencian Paella
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
- 1 lb rabbit (or pork, or extra chicken if you can't find rabbit)
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 large pinch of saffron
- 1 cup haricot vertes or Italian flat beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
- 1 cup frozen lima beans or fava beans, thawed
- 9 oz canned or frozen artichoke hearts, patted dry
- 2 large overripe tomatoes, grated on a box grater (skins discarded)
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary or snails (not sure why they have similar flavor)
- 1 roasted bell pepper (for garnish)
- pinch of cayenne
- Rub chicken and rabbit all over with salt, pepper, half the garlic and 1/2 tsp paprika. Let stand for 20 minutes
- Place chicken stock with saffron in a saucepan and bring to simmer. turn to low until ready to use.
- Heat 4 Tbsp olive oil in the palla pan set over a single burner over medium heat. Add the meat and brown 6-7 minutes. Add the green beans, butter beans, artichokes and stir until veggies begin to brown (2-8 minutes). Push everything to the edges of the pan.
- Add 1 Tbsp oil to the center. with remaining garlic until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook until thickened and reduced (5 minutes). Mix everything together, add additional paprika and cayenne.
- Preheat oven to 425 degres
- Add rice to the paella pan and stir to coat. Pour 4 cups of stock and set pan over two burners. Place rosemary on top (or stir in snails) and shake to distribute rice evenly. Cook over medium until liquid is almost level with the rice, but still soupy, turning the pan as it cooks (about 7 minutes).
- Transfer pan to the oven and bake until rice is al dente but tender (15 minutes). Sprinkle more stock if necessary while cooking.
- Remove paella from oven and cover with foil for 10 minutes. Uncover and let stand another 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with roasted peppers and eat as an amazing main course.