Chicken Paella Valenciana
This Australian version of paella Valenciana is combined from many Spanish sources and uses ingredients found in Australia. It can take two or three attempts to get it right but thereafter, add anything you like: even seafood. Cook it on the stove top or, like a real Valenciano, on the barbie.
Photo: John Newton
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- 100g lima beans (fresh and newly shelled are best, or dried)
- 100g cannellini or flageolet beans (as above)
- 150ml olive oil
- 500g chicken thighs (or duck breasts) in bite-size chunks
- 350g rabbit or lean pork, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 125g green beans, cut into pieces
- 6 small garlic cloves, peeled
- 100g tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and finely chopped (or tinned)
- 1 tbsp pimenton
- 2 litres chicken stock
- Sprig rosemary
- Generous pinch saffron
- 375g Bomba rice (preferably Calasparra)
- Serves 4
If using dried beans, soak overnight in cold water then simmer in just enough water to cover them for 15 minutes. Drain, set aside.
Heat oil in 40-centimetre paella pan with a little salt. When hot, add the chicken and rabbit and fry over a low heat until golden brown. Add beans and garlic and fry over low heat for five minutes. Add tomatoes and fry for three minutes. Add the pimenton then quickly add 1.75 litres of stock before bringing to boil. Then add the lima and cannellini beans. When boiling, add rosemary and saffron and a pinch of salt.
Cook for 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the rice, spreading as evenly as possible and boil over a high heat for about five minutes, then gradually turn down the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid has evaporated.
Do not stir paella once the rice is in. You may need the extra stock. Taste the rice to see if it's cooked. It should be soft but firm, more dry than wet. Remove from heat, and rest for five minutes before serving.
HINTS: If the paellera is too big for a single burner on the stove top, light two and rotate it regularly for even heat during the last simmering process.
To get delicious crunchy rice, known as socarrat, at the base of the pan, put the paellera over a high heat once the stock has evaporated. Socarrat should be only a single grain of rice thick.
When the rising steam begins to smell slightly acrid, Herraiz says, it is time to take the pan off the heat for its five-minute rest.