Paella Valenciana
(serves 4)
    Soak:
a pinch or three of saffron
    in:
1/2 c white wine, warmed
     
    Heat a 14" paella pan over a medium-high flame, add:
3 T olive oil
    and brown:
1   chicken breast, quartered (or 2 half-breasts, each halved)
     
    Fry the chicken a few minutes on each side.  It does not need to be cooked through, but should be about halfway there.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.  Then saute the sofrito, adding olive oil if necessary:
1   yellow or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
     
    When the onions are translucent, stir in:
1   tomato, halved, grated, skin discarded
    and cook until the water from the tomato has evaporated.  Then add:
1 1/2 c rice, Valencian, Arborio, or other medium-grained variety
    and stir to coat the rice thoroughly.
     
    Add:
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c chicken stock, heated near to boiling
    the white wine & saffron mixture
    Stir the pot (for the last time) and arrange into the rice mixture:
1 sliced Spanish chorizo, or other sausage
    the chicken breast pieces
and lower the heat to maintain a slow boil.  As the rice cooks, add:
1 1/2 c chicken stock, heated
     
    As the rice cooks, arrange into it:
    red bell pepper strips, fresh or roasted
1/4 c fresh peas (or green beans, chopped into 2" pieces)
     
    When all the stock and vegetables have been added, cover the paella with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.  Place the paella back on a low burner, uncover it, and decorate it with:
    lemon wedges
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
     
Serve immediately, or let it sit on a low heat long enough to nearly scorch the rice on the bottom of the pan. This caramelized rice is called the socarrat, and is considered a great delicacy.
     
    Buen Provecho!
Notes & Variations:
  1. Be sure to read the notes on making paella.
  2. Some Valencian purists insist on making paella without the sofrito (onions, garlic, tomato).  If you want to try it that way, simply toss the rice into heated olive oil to coat it before adding the stock.
  3. Try using rabbit instead of chicken, for a real authentic flavor.
  4. Mexican chorizo can add a rich flavor, but it is quite different from Spanish chorizo.  A nearer substitute would be a mild sausage or diced ham hock.
  5. Before covering and placing the paella in the oven, place a sprig or two of fresh rosemary on it.  Discard the rosemary before serving, but its flavor will nicely infuse the paella.
  6. Any combination of meats, seafood, and vegetables can be delicious.  Check out our Seafood Paella and Vegetable Paella recipes for ideas.