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Paella Valenciana

Annie Sibonney serves up this symbolic Spanish dish in episode 1 of From Spain with Love.


  • 1 ¼ cups olive oil

  • 4 pounds chicken, cut into pieces

  • 1 pound rabbit, cut into pieces

  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 pound wide, flat green beans (called “bajoqueta de Ferradura” in Valencia)

  • 1 pound fresh butter beans (large white lima beans called “garrofó” in Valencia)

  • 7 1/2 cups water

  • 2 pounds Valencian rice ( “senia,” “bahia” or “bomba”)

  • 1 pinch Spanish saffron

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary


  • 1.

    This dish, when made authentically, is cooked in a large paella pan directly over an open wood fire. You can adapt this recipe to make at home by using a barbeque or even a conventional stovetop as your heat source.

  • 2.

    Place the pan (“paella”) over a wood burning fire, barbeque or stovetop, heat momentarily and add the oil.

  • 3.

    When the oil is hot enough (should be just smoking), add the chicken and rabbit pieces. The fire should be at medium-high heat. Sear the chicken and rabbit pieces until they are lightly browned all over. Add the green beans and butter beans. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, keeping the fire at medium-high heat.

  • 4.

    Once all the ingredients are well seared in the oil and caramelized, add the water and fresh rosemary and increase the heat of the fire to maximum high heat. Next, add the salt and saffron. As soon as the liquid starts to boil, add the rice and remove the rosemary sprig.

  • 5.

    Stir the ingredients to distribute them evenly throughout the pan with a wooden spoon, using gentle but firm movements. Keep the fire at maximum heat for 8 to 10 minutes. After this time, if working over a wood-burning fire or barbeque, reduce the fire level gradually until there is no more fire and the paella is just resting over hot coals. Let the paella stand for 2-3 minutes more, over the coals. If using a conventional stovetop, reduce the heat gradually to low heat and let paella stand for 2-3 minutes more, over low heat.

  • 6.

    Take the paella off the heat and it let stand for 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately. Paella waits for no one!


It is best to use fresh and tender beans, although out of season it is possible to use dried. For example, you can use re-hydrated and boiled butter beans (large white lima beans – “garrofó”), pouring them in when the rice is almost cooked. It will need more or less water, depending on the water quality and even the geographic zone altitude. Don Rafael Vidal always uses “Senia” or “Bahía” rice from Valencia with Valencian Denomination of Origin (D.O.)

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Posted by Ernest7Report
This recipe does in fact produce a risotto; a paella recipe is not stirred once the ingredients are settled, as Joanna correctly points out. The result is the socarrat (or crust) and this recipe does not begin with a sofritto. Personally I prefer calasparra rice over the other brands listed. Then I add my chicken (i.e. spatchcock) late in the process, whilst it is still frozen and as it thaws I cut it up with secateurs in situ. Seafood is added even later so that it doesn't overcook and become tough.

Posted by Joanna142Report
The ingredients are very authentic but where is the reference to the crust?...,, Any Spanish (especially those from Valencia) will tell you it's the best part... Paella is not meant to be risotto