Saffron Threads / Paella Valenciana
Traditional Paella Valenciana*
15 inch paella pan (serves 5-6 people)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1.1lb (or ½ kilo) Bomba Paella Rice (Dacsa brand recommended)
2.5 lbs chicken (thighs, legs)
2 chicken livers (optional but adds tons of flavor)
3 medium sized tomatoes (remove skin and grated)
¼ lb fresh **Fava or lima beans (snap ends and remove beans from pods)
1/3 lb fresh green beans (snap ends and cut into 2 inch pieces. Leave beans intact.)
66-70 oz water (water works just fine if you have all ingredients on hand – if you feel like you need extra flavor you can always opt to use low sodium chicken stock)
½ tbsp sweet smoked paprika
Pinch of turmeric (or Paella colorant) We prefer turmeric because it is all natural and doesn’t have artificial colors.
½ tsp n13 Saffron Threads by The Spanish Tin. (Shop our Saffron here)
Fresh rosemary sprigs and lemon for garnish
*Traditional Paella Valenciana is considered meat only (chicken and rabbit in Valencia, Spain). You may choose to add your own meats (i.e. chorizo (not traditional but common in U.S.) and/or turn this into a ‘Paella Mixta’ where you combine chicken and seafood. However, this would require seafood stock and the recipe steps will vary.
**Meant to replace Garrofón beans (not readily available here). You may notice our finished paella doesn't have fava or lima beans. We bought fava beans but after peeling them at home, they were not fresh and we opted not to add them. Adapt, adapt! And it still came out delicious!
Add olive oil to paella pan on medium heat. When olive oil is hot, add a generous pinch of sea salt to oil and then add chicken to pan. Lightly brown while turning chicken on all sides. Once they have browned a little, add chicken livers. Continue to brown meat.
When a nice golden brown color develops, add the 2 inch green bean pieces to center of pan and give a stir. Add fava or lima beans now. Stir and continue to brown meat and tenderize beans. When green beans are softer, make space in the center of pan and add grated tomato. Let sit for a minute in the center while it heats up, then mix throughout paella pan. Then leave about 4 minutes or until you see tomato disintegrate and turn ‘saucy’ with olive oil. (This really develops flavor as everything continues to marry together.)
Next, make a little space at the edge of the paella pan as you will now toast the saffron. Dump threads there and allow to heat up and toast. Squish them a bit with your mixing utensil. Then stir and mix into rest of paella pan. Now add the sweet smoked paprika and stir immediately and quickly. Do not allow paprika to stick to bottom of pan anywhere as it tends to burn quickly and will produce a bitter taste.
Add all water to paella pan. As a reference, the water should cover the little rivets completely (on the inside of pan under handles). Keep extra water on hand for later so you can control doneness of rice. (Rice doneness preference comes into play – some like their rice more crunchy while others like it completely tender. Getting the rice right can be tricky but if you are watching your paella you can always add a bit of water towards the end if you feel like the rice might be under). Start timer and allow to cook for 30 minutes on a medium flame. After the water begins to boil, add your paella color (whether you use a colorant or turmeric) and give a brief stir. Also add 2-3 rosemary sprigs (to be removed when the rice is added). Continue to allow to cook for those 30 minutes.
The water should have reduced just under the rivets. Remove rosemary sprigs or they will fall apart throughout paella. Taste the stock and salt as needed. Add rice slowly throughout the pan trying to distribute it evenly. Give it a very quick stir and make sure all grains of rice are submerged. Keep on high heat for 5 minutes. Now it is time to leave the paella alone. If you continue to stir, you will be making risotto not paella!
Then reduce to low flame and cook for 12-15 minutes. Turn off flame and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes allowing the paella to rest. It is now ready to serve.
Garnish with a few fresh rosemary sprigs and lemon slices.
Recipe credit: La Cocina de Loli Dominguez, Valencian Chef
Click here for the link to her YouTube video. It is in Spanish, but the visuals are great and we've transcribed the recipe (ingredients, measurements, and directions).