- Credit: Archant
Jane Price uses an authentic Spanish recipe to enjoy some summer rabbits
If you have been abroad on your holidays recently, you may have returned with memories of buying local produce in the markets or eating in beach-side restaurants. The aroma of the food, the sounds of the sea and the laughter of your family all make happy holiday memories that last. Paella is a must if you visit Spain and there are different regional variations, which include seafood, snails, beans and tomatoes from the region. It is a sociable meal, often using an oversized pan over a fire in the open air, with people gathering round for a bit of a party.
The original paella, ‘Paella Valenciana’ from Valencia, was made using chicken and rabbit, not the seafood version we usually think of. Paella rice is different from rice used for risotto although you can use that if you have it, and the cooking method is different. For risotto the rice is added at the beginning and stock added in small amounts. With paella, the rice is added after the stock and spread across the top of the pan and not stirred as this would allow the steam to escape and the rice wouldn’t cook evenly. The base may get crispy which gives a nice chewy crunch, and overall, the paella should be oily and juicy but not wet. The pan used for paella has a large flat base and is shallow. You could use a large frying pan if the base is flat. My cheap paella pan was bought from my local supermarket and works well on the large burner on my range cooker. In this recipe I have used rabbit, chorizo and large flat mushrooms.
1) Heat the paella pan and add the oil
2) Fry the chorizo and onion together until golden
3) Add the red pepper
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4) Add the cooked rabbit pieces and stir until the chorizo is almost burning
5) Add the chopped tomatoes and the sprig of rosemary
6) Add the stock and simmer gently for about 15 minutes
7) Add the mushrooms and stir
8) Add the rice in a thin layer to cover the mixture and stir once to coat the rice
9) Cook for 20 minutes but don’t stir as this will let the steam out and the rice will not cook evenly
10) Add more stock if the rice becomes dry
11) Add the olives, capers, fresh herbs and serve
If you have any paella left over, it makes a great lunch for the following day. Just spoon the paella into a box and put into the fridge as soon as it has cooled. You can add cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil to make it more of a salad. Instant packed lunch! Or reheat in a pan with a drizzle of oil and serve with a green salad and some warm bread. Try the paella with a nice cold glass of white wine - I always look out for a special offer on Cava to keep the Spanish theme.