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Paella - boiled rice.

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  • Paella - boiled rice.

    This is a very forgiving dish and should be tried.

    My mother learned to make Paella on the coast of Spain about 30 years ago. I learned from her and started making paella about 15 years ago. My first paella was in a frying pan over an open oak fire on the banks of Lake Michigan. Since then I've progressed to a custom made fire pit cut from a steel drum and progressively larger pans now as big as the drum. My big pan is 55 cm and uses a kilo of rice. I've never tried it in an oven or over a gas ring but know both work.

    Your restriction will be the size of your door as it uses a flat pan or dish. I think that if you know how to cook in your oven you will be able to modify this method to work more like a caserole. I had a local spanish friend cook us a Paella last year over a gas ring and her methodology was quite different...still turns out great.

    Now the history of Paella goes back to the Valencia region of Spain where they produce a short grain rice. Paellas can run from plain rice, to seafood, to mountain (meats), or mixtures. My friends do a mushroom and asparagus paella. One version goes that during the morning whatever could be found was collected for the midday meal....maybe collect some snails, shoot a rabbit, pick some vegetables...what have you.....then the Paella would be cooked in the fields for the noon day meal (at 3 oclock)

    Here's my mixed paella recipe done over an open fire:
    (It will need to be modified to work in an oven but the ingredients and process should help guide you. Note the other post in this Rice/Vegetables section and track down the book by Penelope Casas called's great)

    Base Ingredients;
    and hot soup stock, three times the volume of short grain rice you will use (remember it boils off), known as caldo in's key to a good paella
    olive oil,
    garlic and rosemary.

    Optional Ingredients.

    Seafoods? ...
    Raw Shrimp with shell on, bigger are better
    calamari, tubes and tennacles cut into pieces
    fish, I've used perch, whitefish and catfish
    mussels, whole live but you can precook without shells if you want
    ....what do you like ....scallops?

    Meats? ...
    Chicken rough cut with cleaver, leg quarters cut in 4 pieces (dark is better)
    pork pieces with bone,
    rabbit, cut like the chicken
    andouille sausage pieces
    I think lamb or beef are too strong but I have not tried them

    Vegetables? ....
    garbanzo beans, rinsed
    tomatoes, chopped
    green beans, whole
    onions, chopped
    red peppers, sliced lenghwise
    squash, sliced

    Spices ....
    chopped garlic and rosemary,
    saffron and/or smokey paprika, added to dry rice
    boullion cubes, added to soup stock (the salt basically)
    Some rosemary to throw in the fire too.

    The fire is hot initially and later will be cooler when the rice is boiling.
    With a hot pan I add some olive oil and garlic.
    The shrimp are tossed in, turned over and pulled out.
    The calamari is then thrown in and taken out, very quickly.
    Then I put in the pork and chicken, browning the pieces well. They can even look burnt but this will flavor the boiled rice.
    As I'm doing the above items, I will often throw in some additional oil, garlic, rosemary or onions depending on how things are going.
    When the meat is browned, not cooked, I open up the center of the pan, add some olive oil and dump in the chopped tomatoes. I think this step helps later when you're trying to get a bit of a crust on the bottom, some consider the best part.
    I then add the rice and stir it around a bit to mix in the olive oil and tomatoes.
    After a couple of minutes the caldo is added and the garbanzo's. (you must have a big enough pan to hold all your ingredients and soup stock!)
    Now I add ingredients according to how much cooking time is needed and how you like things to be cooked.
    the green beans.
    Later the shrimp go back in placed on top with the Squash and red peppers.
    Fish laid on top last and mussels pushed into the mixture vertically. They will open and be cooked by the time it's served.

    Now the trick is to pull your paella off/out early as it rests for 10 minutes before serving. During this period it's covered with a lid/foil/cloth to conserve the heat and moisture. When the paella is taken off the fire, there is still some liquid in it that will be taken up by the rice while it rests.

    Now I've heard stories of Spanish perfectionists that will throw out a whole paella because the rice is not done right. All the ones I've done get eaten! And I've learned it's a pretty forgiving dish. (Except the one that got sand kicked in it, ....yes I cook with wine!)

    I save leftovers and heat up later, adding a bit of liquid/white wine. Oven reheat is best, but a microvave is ok. My friends love it the next morning for breakfast.

    Good luck.

    If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer.

    And as I mentioned, the Casas book on Paella talks a lot about doing it in a conventional oven. I've just never done it. I've had gas rings for 10 years and have yet to try that method that most Spanish do.

    Salut, Amor, Peseta y tiempo para guzarlos.
    Last edited by Xabia Jim; 01-27-2007, 01:45 AM. Reason: unfinished!
    sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!

  • #2
    Excellent Jim,

    This is wonderful. I have heard that a Paella is only as good as your stock. Is that true?

    Somewhere on this forum, I once said that I could only pick one last meal, it would be a Paella. We're making two this week for friends (but only on a traditional cooktop).

    Now all we need is a few photos, and a nice Rioja. Thanks for sharing this.

    Pizza Ovens
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    • #3

      Okay's the rest of the story....

      My mother always said the Caldo was the key to a great Paella.

      My secret is to make great soup stocks usually chicken, but beef and seafood as well. We make a lot of soups (we call stoup) and freeze them in quart zip locs for later use. I start by making a soup stock and this is also what I use for Paellas. I will kick them up a bit with some better than boullion as thats where I get my salt and some more flavor.

      Here's my trick. I save about everything for a few weeks to a month in zip loc bags in the freezer. I mean bones from leftover chicken and vegetable bits from cooking and salads. Lots of onion peels and ends (not moldy), carrot ends/peelings/tops, celery trimmings/root, pepper bits, even fruit bits like apples, lemons beans trimmings....whatever works for you. I don't use too much brocolli or cauliflower but some. You get the idea.

      I take a huge pot and dump in two or three frozen gallon bags of these bits and add water. There are basic stocks I do. Beef for beef soups, and chicken for chicken soups and my paellas. I have saved shrimp shells but fish stock is much more delicate so I'd buy fish pieces. Now I bring it to a boil and simmer for up to 8 hours. Low end for fish, maybe 1-2 hours, 4-5 hours for the chicken and 8 hour for the beef. Great job for the winter having a warm kitchen. ( I you do beef, roast your bones first...hopefully in the wood fired oven. I will usually have 2-4 chicken carcasses in the stock I make, or here I have gone down and bought 2 roasted chickens to strip off the meat for soup and boil the bones for stock)

      Now let the mixture cool a bit and strain it off. I use another big pot and collander. You will get a lot of liquid. (I've been known to throw in more water to rinse the mixture because it still has a lot of flavor in there! (often think of poor starving people in the wars boiling shoe leather and eating rotten foods so I hate to waste this basic ingredient) Cool this down by putting outside or in your fridge later. In about a day it will set up and you can skim off the fat. Now you have a great soup stock to start a soup by adding vegetables, starch and meat. I bag it in all sizes of zip locs, from gallons for soup, to pints I use for making rice in the evening.

      I've been doing this for years and it works well. You have a very healthy base for making soups or stews. I have one in the fridge today and will be making chicken soup for dinner and freezing some for future meals!

      sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!


      • #4
        by the way, I forgot the lemmons on the paella. You would have a couple of lemons cut up to serve with the meal. They can be stuck in the paella at the end or put in a dish on the table.

        I can stretch a paella to feed a lot of people....have some appetizers like shrimp/proscuitto and calamari....bread and ali oli.....and a salad course. Some additional tapas like olives...whatever you like.

        It's great party fare.
        sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!


        • #5

          We need photos!
          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces


          • #6

            Well I didn't bring my camera...left it in the snow.

            my son is coming over for christmas in Malaga and I hope he remembers to bring it

            pics later....

            sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!


            • #7
              Archive photos

              We have Spanish friends who came over last fall to cook a Paella for us....

              This is done on a gas ring....I have never used one! All my paellas have been done on wood fires in Michigan and I'm building a flat hearth to have my first one in Spain.

              I will do some in the WFO. but it will be smaller because of the door size!

              This is authentic Valenciano!
              sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!


              • #8
                Re: Paella - boiled rice.

                James, Jim, all,

                I've made gallons and gallons of stock at various times for various reasons, from double-reduced consomme to cassoulet to beef stew in red wine, to vegetable soup, to chicken everything, to bechamel sauce for hot beef sandwiches. The quality of the stock will have an enormous affect on any dish you make using it. Even humble long grain rice or Basmati will take on remarkable complexity and richness. Risotto will be glorious.

                Last year, I poached something like twenty pounds of beef and pork to slice for sandwiches (my kaisers) for a friend's wedding party (midnight snacks). The poaching liquid was mine all mine. Froze it, then proceded to poach other meats in it, adding aromatics each and every time, plus a bit of spring water, a bit of wine, and so on, to increase the volume to the desired level. Did this several times with the same stock. To say it is now "killer" is an understatement. Each time it gets richer and more complex. You can even freeze small bits in ice cube trays, or reduce it to a sort of paste, which you can then drop into the next stew or soup. This multiple reduction method has a specific name, which I forget, in rural France (Provence, I think). It's probably nonsense, but I've read that some of these stock bases have been in continuous use for forty years. You can think of it as a sort of "sourdough" starter, in fact. Just reserve a bit, then build again.

                I've also made stock from oxtail, veal shin, beef shin or ten pounds of butcher's marrow bones with lots of meat still on (friend of mine), or frozen leftover chicken bones that I bag until there's enough to begin, then make a chicken stew with it. The leftover Christmas turkey carcase works well, too. The point, I guess, is to get a start somewhere, then continue building. Works, believe me. I have to guard mine while it's thawing, lest my maurauding girlfriend, Wendy, scoops some, still half frozen. Maybe stock popsicles on the horizon .

                Have a look at Julia Child's The Way to Cook for a very sound and not (for her) very complicated method. My youngest brother, Mike, worked as a sous chef for many years. His saying was: "Good stock, good food; bad stock, lousy food." I think he really meant ho-hum.

                Unfortunately, using this method will prevent you from buying canned or dried stock for the rest of your life. Good thing is, though, you control the salt level, and canned supermarket stocks are often laced with salt and chemicals I can't pronounce. Could be worse, I guess .

                "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


                • #9

                  You've captured it CJim, I whole heartedly agree on the stock.....for soups, stews, rice, chili, beans, etc. (noodles too?).

                  Anyway, one parting thought as well. We are really headed down the path to create natural stocks. No antibiotics in the meats (or bones!) and no MSG in the stock. So we're close since we try to buy natural meats, Poultry, pork, beef, lamb and organic vegetables when we can, othewise at the fresh market. (Vaughn also looks for the wild caught fish varieties but we don't make too many seafood stocks.)

                  I saw a liter of stock in the organic supermarket yesterday for 4.5 euros or about $6 so making a couple gallons of natural stock from my leftovers recycling makes me feel real good now!!

                  By the way, I just freeze in different sized a pint of chicken stock to go with a cup of rice.

                  We buy an organic product now...I think "better than bouillion" to supplement our stock making. That's where I get my salt!

                  Thanks for sharing
                  sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!


                  • #10
                    More photos

                    Couple of shots... one after stock has gone in the rice, one of the finished product steaming just before coming off and "resting". These show my new/second generation wood burner being used for the first time in contrast to the gas ring typically used in Spain.
                    sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!


                    • #11
                      Re: Paella - boiled rice.

                      Originally posted by CanuckJim View Post
                      James, Jim, all,

                      I've also made stock from oxtail, veal shin, beef shin or ten pounds of butcher's marrow bones with lots of meat still on (friend of mine). . .

                      I've never made stock out of a friend, but now that you mention it, it sounds delicious. Perhaps with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

                      Seriously, though, I love the idea of a "starter" stock. I make fresh stocks all the time, but never thought to refresh them. I'm going to start doing that. THanks.


                      • #12
                        Re: Paella - boiled rice.

                        Just a quick update .... I'm always happy to revise a recipe when it makes sense....

               Spanish friends recommended that the peppers be fried cut them in big pieces and fry them with the meat until roasted...then take them out and save them to put on the top later after the green beans go on.

                        did that last time and it worked well having the blackened peppers on the top!

                        ...also another friend from Valencia puts his rice into the boiling liquid insted of frying it first like we do...tells you how flexible this dish can be!
                        Sharing life's positives and loving the slow food lane


                        • #13
                          Re: Paella - boiled rice.

                          This maybe a stupid question...I've made risotto, never paella and have yet to cook in WFO. From this thread it appears you cook paella on top of some heat source...yet I see pictures of Paella in a WFO.

                          Do you cook it up then put in WFO to finish?
                          "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." - Henry Ford


                          • #14
                            Re: Paella - boiled rice.

                            What a great thread !

                            I had cooked paellas a few times on a stove-top, but it always seemed like a lot of work, but after seeing a demo of how it's done in Spain on a wood fire earlier this year that is how I now do it and it's a real pleasure and is absolutely delicious.

                            I build the wood fire ahead of time so it burns down to coals. While this is happening I grill red-peppers until they're blackened, put them in a freezer bag for a few minutes to steam and then peel the skins off - this gives all the lovely smoky flavour with none of the chewy skin. I always use chicken thighs so I also brown these indoors and heat through to make sure they're cooked through (probably won't do this if/when I get a proper big flat paella pan).

                            Then like Jim I fry onions and garlic and chorizo in olive oil in an earthenware dish on the coals, throw in the rice and coat, then add stock and wine, chicken, peppers, saffron, paprika, herbs and other ingredients.

                            As we live a little way inland and no fresh fish locally I usually buy some frozen prawns and mixed fish to add, and needless to say being Italian they're excellent.

                            We always make our own stock too, whenever we have bones left over, but we usually boil it down a bit to concentrate it and take less room in our freezer.

                            Ciao Rog


                            • #15
                              Re: Paella - boiled rice.

                              Rog, you're close enough to Spain that you should be able to find a pan....or have a friend bring one back....they are still last ones were 7 euro's....may the Paella gods smile on you....

                              Sharing life's positives and loving the slow food lane