Along with most Valencians, we at Rimontgó are proud of paella valenciana, our famous local dish. It’s a definite family favourite, best eaten straight from the pan, freshly cooked by the men of the family over an open fire.
Paella is not fast food! It should take around two hours to cook. Most eat it on Sundays, surrounded by family and friends, enjoying the time spent together while the rice bubbles away. And for those who don’t have time or space to prepare the home cooked version, there are restaurants that will sell takeaway paella in a pan that is often called a paellera, but according to aficionados should also be named a paella, as they say the recipe is named after the pan. Either way, make sure you carefully follow the restaurant’s instructions for cleaning the pan afterwards, or you won’t get your deposit back!
The ingredients in a paella valenciana are even more important than the pan. Green vegetables, rabbit, chicken, duck, land snails, beans, saffron and olive oil provide the all-important flavours. Combine these with special Valencian paella rice, now protected with denomination of origin status, and never mix in seafood unless you want to risk offending the locals! In an ideal world, the paella should be cooked in the traditional way: slowly and over a fire stoked with orange wood, pinecones and pine branches.
But with the potential to be perhaps even more sacrilegious than mixing your meat and seafood, there is a new product on the market for those needing to eat paella in a hurry:
Valencian company, Paellas Aleña, have recently launched their version of convenience paella. Packaged in two parts it consists of a small jar of quick cook rice attached to a tin of fabada or bean stew enhanced with traditional chicken, rabbit and rosemary flavours.
Using only natural ingredients, with no artificial colours or preservatives, this paella in a tin offers a tasty compromise for modern living: healthy and traditional cuisine, which you can prepare in just 20 minutes. On their website, the creators have even provided handy pictorial ‘how to cook’ instructions that are surely fool proof! Pour the contents of the tin into a pan, heat, add the rice and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. What could be easier?
We’re not convinced that it’s paella like Mama used to make, but it’s sure to be a hit with tourists hoping to take home a taste of Valencia.