Two ingredients are especially critical for making an authentic Spanish paella.
The first is Spanish sort grained rice - especially rice from Calasparra, either Bomba or regular. These are special Spanish rices that absorb large amounts of the broth without becoming creamy or sticky - as arborio and Asian rices do.
Second is smoked paprika (pimentón de la Vera) lends a depth of flavour which is unique to Spanish cuisine. It is the secret ingredient that makes a paella authentic.
Ingredients: Serves 6
- 1 1/2 cups Paella rice
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 3 piquillo peppers
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 3 large cloves or garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 5 - 10 strands of saffron
- 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cubed
- 4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups vegetable stock. Keep stock warm.
- Finely minced parsley
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the Piquillo peppers, onion and bell peppers. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, saffron, zucchini and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir in the rice and warmed stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until most of the stock is absorbed.
- Cover with foil, put in 180 C oven for another 10 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed
- To serve, spoon the paella into the centre of four serving plates and garnish each with lemon wedges and parsley.
Note: I often make this with sliced chicken and chorizo, I add them at the beginning of cooking along with the vegetables.