Have you heard of paella?
It’s a Spanish rice dish that originates from Valencia, a region along Spain’s Eastern coast. It is such a traditional Spanish dish that many would consider it the national dish of Spain.
While there are three classic types of paella: seafood, mixed (meat and seafood), and Valencian (meat, green vegetables, and beans), like many dishes that are rooted in tradition, paella is more of a technique than a set recipe.
Hopefully I’m not over-simplifying things. But, looking at the dish this way helped us to take paella from a seemingly un-approachable feat, to quite a tasty challenge.
Here are the basics:
Meat is sauteed in olive oil. Vegetables and seasonings are then added and sauteed. Next, the rice is added. Finally, the water or broth is added, along with any seafood, and the dish is simmered over a fairly high heat, uncovered and undisturbed, until the rice is cooked. (For the Valencian version the water is added before the rice and allowed to simmer with the meat and veggies to create the broth that the rice cooks in.)
This makes Paella a fantastic one-dish meal that is incredibly versatile and brings out the flavors of whichever ingredients you have on hand.
For this Paella, we used mushrooms and white fish, which gave the dish a nice and mellow flavor that was complemented beautifully by the bright tomatoes.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 c tomatoes, diced
- 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 celery stalk, diced (roughly 1 c)
- 1 c white rice
- 2 c water
- 1 c chicken stock
- ½ c white wine
- ½ lb white fish (we used Pollock), cut into 1” chunks
- In a 12” cast iron (or non-stick) skillet heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 5 min.
- Add tomatoes, mushrooms, and celery. Heat slightly, 1-2 min.
- Add rice and sauté until lightly toasted and shiny, 1-2 min.
- Add water, stock, wine, and fish chunks. Stir briefly to combine.
- Simmer over medium high heat, uncovered and undisturbed, for 10 min. If your mixture begins to dry out add ½ c of water or stock. After 10 minutes, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until the rice is tender. (When you are finished, you should have a slight crispness to the bottom layer of rice. Not burnt, mind you, just a slight crisp browning. If you start to smell burning during the cooking process, turn your heat down.)