Spain: land of paella, land of chorizo and land of good olive oil… this meal brings you there! If you can get to a good butcher, you should be able to find those paprika flavored fresh sausages, and if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll find an export from Spain. Chorizo in Spain varies: some are dried, others are fresh and some are spicy, smoky or sweet, depending on the paprika (pimenton) which is used. The sausage comes in all kind of forms, large, thin, in “U” shape etc. It is often served as a tapa into little clay pots. Sometimes it’s cooked in wine or cider or even flamed in cognac, however in this recipe I simply use a tiny bit of red wine.
Paella is a great dish created by the rice farmers from the Valencia region. Back in the day, farmers used to take any available ingredients they could easily find around them such as green beans, eels and snails, with some luck perhaps a rabbit, and they cooked it in a paella pan over a wood fire. This is how the “original” paella was born. Today they use a paellera (in spanish) to make it, and in summertime around town, you often see district diners on the streets with immense tables, where they cook those gigantic paellas. The paellera used for those places is so big that the cook needs a kind of paddle/spoon to mix it up.
Paella is a great meal, because it’s made for social events, like a lunch outside with friends on a Sunday afternoon, or a gathering with the whole family. In other words: it’s a really convivial meal. The most popular paella for foreigners is obviously the seafood paella, which is a meal anybody visiting Spain should try at least once. It’ s such a delicious meal!
The rice is a round, shorter grain then the basmati or the long grain rice… There are also many types and qualities of rice: from the easy bomba rice to the AOC ones like arroz del delta del Ebro, Valenciana or Calasparra. For beginners, the bomba rice is the easiest and almost impossible to mess up.
So let’s get cooking the “Spanish way”!
portion of 4-5 pers.
- 400g bomba rice
- 500g chorizo (2x15cm long sausages)
- 750 ml preheated chicken or vegetables broth
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 onion cut finely
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 tbs thyme
- 2 tbsp of red wine*optional
- 1/2 zucchini in cubes *optional
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbs paprika (of your choice, sweet,smoky or spicy)
- Salt and pepper
- In a paellera or big pan, soften the onion slowly in olive oil until translucent (15 min)
- Cut a tomato in 2 and grate it in the onion mix.
- Add the wine
- Add the sausage and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes.
- Make a well and add the rice in the middle. If there is oil from chorizo, there is no need to add more oil. If it’s a bit dry, add some olive oil.
- At medium-high heat, mix your rice for about a minute until translucent.
- Add the already warm broth to the rice, until it covers the rice by 5 mm (it should boil right away).
- Add the salt and pepper (right away yes), thyme and paprika, then mix.
- Add the vegetables on top, do not mix. Let it cook on high heat the first 10 min.
- Reduce the heat mid-way to medium 10 more minutes until it reaches the softness you want (I like harder, so 7 minutes is good here too)
- Keep it covert and let it rest for a few minutes (2min) before serving.
Hope you’ll enjoy that little piece of Spain! Olé!