Madrid is a foodie’s paradise. This is one of the many reasons why hundreds of people decide to learn to Teach English in Spain every year.. You can find cuisines from other EU nations, Africa, Asia, Latin America and they are as authentic as if they were made back home. In Spain we have the world renowned “Paella Valenciana” and yes, you can find it right here in Madrid. Some say they make it even better than in Valencia because the seafood in Madrid is of a very high quality. There are lots and lots of restaurants in Madrid serving paella.
However, if you fancy a visit to Valencia, it’s about a 4-hour drive from Madrid. Valencia is a region on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, between Barcelona and Murcia that is known for its rice dishes. There are as many versions of paella as there are cooks in Spain! Paella Valenciana is the traditional version of Valencia’s signature rice dish with rabbit, chicken and snails.
Cooking a paella, they say is not that complicated so for those who’d like to give it a go, the recipe and step by step instructions are found below. Enjoy your home cooked paella!
Because paella pans are very large round pans, they are not suitable for cooking on top of a standard burner. So, we recommend cooking paella on a round charcoal BBQ.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Yield: 8 Servings
- 1 1/4 cup dried white beans
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 chicken drumsticks or a whole chicken
- 1 rabbit – skinned and cleaned
- 24 snails, cleaned
- 2 1/4 lbs green beans
- 2 artichokes, each cut into 4 pieces*
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4-6 cups chicken broth
- A pinch of saffron threads
- medium grain or “Pearl” rice
This Valencian paella recipe makes 8 servings as a main course.
Gather the Equipment for Paella
Gather the following equipment:
- 17 inch (144cm) paella pan
- Round charcoal BBQ
- Medium sauce pan
- Sharp knife for chopping meat and vegetables
- Meat cleaver
- Wooden spoon with a long handle
* If artichokes are not in season or you cannot buy them fresh, use a 16 oz can of artichokes, drained.
Soak the white beans overnight and drain the liquid before cooking.
Before you can start cooking, you will need to gather all equipment and start preparing the ingredients.
You’ll need one whole chicken, cut into serving-size pieces or 8 chicken drumsticks. If you use a whole chicken, use a meat cleaver to cut the chicken into pieces small enough to easily mix while sautéing. Do the same for the rabbit.
Frozen or canned snails can be purchased specialty grocery stores and they should be clean and ready to cook with.
Chop the garlic finely. Cut the tomatoes in half, then cut each half into four pieces. Rinse green beans and snap the green beans in half. Cut off blemishes.
If you are using fresh artichokes, trim tops of leaves and cut off bottom stem. Cut artichokes in quarters, length-wise. If you are using canned artichokes, open and drain the artichokes. Set all vegetables aside.
If you are preparing the ingredients ahead of time, you can do everything up until this point and refrigerate the ingredients until you are ready to start cooking.
Now that you have cleaned and chopped the ingredients, it’s time to light the BBQ. When the coals on the BBQ are covered in white ash, cooking can begin. Assemble all the ingredients on a table near the BBQ, so that you can stay in the area and monitor the cooking.
Place the pan on the grate and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and allow the pan to heat. When hot, sauté the onion, garlic and tomatoes in the olive oil. Add olive oil as needed to prevent sticking. Once the onions are translucent, add the chicken, snails and rabbit. Cook, stirring constantly – about 15 minutes.
Add the white beans and stir.
Add the rice in the form of a cross. Stir for 2-3 minutes to thoroughly coat the rice with oil and mix.
Add saffron to the saucepan of broth and stir. Slowly pour broth into pan until contents are covered. Add the rest of the vegetables. Spread ingredients evenly over pan. Allow to simmer, cooking rice and beans. Add more broth if necessary.
When rice is cooked, remove from heat and cover with aluminum foil, allowing paella to “rest” for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Can’t travel to Spain to enjoy a paella in a typical Spanish restaurant?
Enrol to an Online TEFL course instead