Paella Valenciana

July 8, 2009

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Serves 4

The original version of this recipe for traditional paella comes from Ceramicas Terriols, a shop that sells paella pans inside the big Valencia market Mercado Central. This dish calls for chicken thighs but no rabbit and button mushrooms to approximate the chewy texture and earthy flavor of snails. The broad base and shallow depth of a traditional paella pan ensures the classic slightly crusty bottom. To cook it, you can also use a 15- to 17-inch ovenproof skillet. Valencia rice, Spanish paprika (pimenton), and paella pans are available at Las Ventas market (700 Harrison Ave., South End, 617-266-0905) or go to

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 chicken thighs, skinned and cut in half along the bone (about 2 pounds)
24 button mushrooms, stemmed
1 cup canned drained chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons sweet or smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton a la Vera)
2 canned roasted red peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 pound fresh peas, shelled
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 thick pinch saffron threads
1 3/4 cups Valencia rice or other short-grain white rice such as Italian vialone or carnaroli
1. In 15-inch paella pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken skin side down. Brown it without moving for 4 minutes. Turn and brown the other side. Remove all the chicken from the pan.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until they release their juices. Turn up the heat and cook until the liquid evaporates.

3. Add the tomatoes and paprika to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, to loosen the browned bits in pan. Add the red pepper, green beans, peas, stock, wine, and saffron. Bring the mixture to a boil.

4. Return the chicken to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Stir in the rice and distribute it evenly. Simmer 7 minutes more.

6. Meanwhile, set the oven at 350 degrees.

7. When rice is still moist but not soupy, transfer the pan to the oven. Continue cooking for 7 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid in the pan and is forming a crust on the bottom.

8. Remove the pan from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Set aside for 7 minutes before serving. David Lyon