Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Galician Paella

I feel like a globe-trotter. In India one week, Spain the next. Thanks to my friends who are great cooks, I can enjoy a taste of far and away lands.

Today, we visit the northwest corner of Spain, in Galicia. This is the rural, coastal hometown of mi amiga Marga. She tells me that Valencia, a region along the Mediterranean coast, is the birthplace of paella. Other regions throughout Spain have their own distinctive versions of the rice dish. In Marga's area, Galicians make paella with seafood.

In AK's Kitchen today, Marga whips up a special version with meat, chicken and paprika. We start by browning chunks of chicken and beef with whole garlic cloves. In a separate non-stick skillet, the medium grain rice gets a light tossing in oil. We make due with a skillet since I don't have a traditional paella pan. (Santa, are you listening?)

To the rice, we add vegetable stock -- a cup and a half for every cup of rice. I have an abundance of peppers, carrots and onions, so we add them to the rice dish, along with the chicken and meat.  

The rice cooks on the stove top uncovered for about 20 minutes over medium heat. Marga adds seasonings of paprika, salt, pepper and rosemary. And of course the key spice, saffron. The paella cooks until the rice on the bottom is firm and crunchy, the way Marga likes her paella.

Muchas gracias, Marga for this hearty taste of Spain. We'll enjoy the leftover paella and think of you.

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