DOMENECH FAMILY PAELLA RECIPE This wonderful authentic Catalan style Paella (pronounced PA-EY-AH) is a complex dish but well worth the effort. Francis Domenech, one of our owners at Bretts Wharf, gave me this recipe which has been passed down through his family who are from the Catalonia region which borders France and Spain – this particular version of paella reflects the best of both of those regions. Secrets for making the perfect Paella Paella is the most international of all Spanish dishes, it is universally considered to be a seafood dish by definition, it is often attempted (badly), but the authentic version is really something else. The success of Paella depends very much on the ratio of rice to water, the cooking time and temperature. Do not improvise on timing…with Paella timing is everything. Always try to use true Valencian rice, but do not wash it and do not par-cook the rice. The quality of the base sauce or “Sofregit” (or as I like to call it, “natures stock cube”) is imperative, and once the base sauce starts to bubble during the cooking of the Paella do not move, stir or touch the rice. Never cover the Paella during cooking. Add the chicken or meat first, then a little later add the seafood. This will ensure the seafood is not overcooked. Make the base sauce the night or days before. This is the most important part of your Paella. You must use a proper Caldero (Paella Pan). Others may say you can use different pans, but it simply will not give you the right effect. You can make Paella on any direct heat, including the bar b que. To be authentic the ingredients should catch and caramelize on the bottom of the caldero pan.
Domenech Family Paella Recipe Serves 4 Sofregit Ingredients 5 large golden shallot (sliced) 2 cloves garlic (chopped) 2 X 310 gm tins peeled tomatoes (peeled, drained and roughly chopped) 4 anchovy fillets 1 tsp sweet paprika 90ml extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp sea salt 1 good pinch saffron threads 1 small pimento (drained and roughly chopped) Method Gently sweat all of the ingredients over a very low heat for up to one hour. Note that the longer and slower the process the better, all great Paellas start with a good Sofregit. Paella (in a 30cm Caldero) 500 g Valencia rice 1200 ml fish or chicken stock (rich and salty) 4 chicken thighs (corn fed is best) 8-12 medium prawns 12 mussells 8 clams 12 calamari rings 12 Merguez sausage Sofregit (all of the above base) 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley 1 good pinch saffron threads Tinned pimentos (the rest of the tin from the Sofregit) Fry all the meats, except the seafood, in olive oil, remove from pan. Fry the rice in olive oil and quickly add measured amount of Sofragit – cook until rice is glassy. Fire must be very hot. Add fish/chicken stock and boil for 30 seconds. Add chicken, seafood etc. Cook vigorously for 8 minutes then reduce heat; the heat must be uniform so Paella cooks evenly. Cook 16-18 minutes – no more than 20 minutes (times vary depending on heat). Stand for at least 5 minutes. To get the best flavour the Paella should be “caught” on the bottom to caramelize, but not burnt.