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The secret of paella

Paella Valenciana et cuilleres en bois d orangerSuccessful Paella, what a challenge!
It is customary to say that the success of a Paella holds in a few points:

  1. The quality of its ingredients
  2. The art of knowing how to cook each of them
  3. Broth.
  4. Mastery of the four phases of fire intensity

Those who want to achieve great results must master all these points.
But, in Valencia, the majority of Valencians will tell you that the secret of Paella is the broth! El caldo!
Here it is revealed:

The secret of successful paella

You have chosen and cooked well your ingredients: it is time to go to the broth.
Le secret de la paella : le bouillon au feu de bois
You must pour more water than necessary and let reduce everything, so that the broth takes all the flavor of the whole. This reduction step is very important.
High heat ! Big broth! This can last from 10 to 45 minutes and more, depending on the water you added and the intensity of the fire …
The longer this stage, the more the flavors mix and pass in the water, and therefore later: in the rice! We can even add water several times … To reduce & reduce further …
A broth simmered and that reduces for a long time: it is the secret of a good Paella.

The moment arrives when you have to put your rice. For this, you have to guess when you will have between 2.5 and 3 times your volume of rice broth in the paella. That’s it, a big challenge of the one who cooks:

When to put rice in Paella?

There are four ways to know when to introduce rice:

  • The simplest: no reduction. It’s the easiest, perfect for beginners, but you’re missing out on the secret of Paella 🙂 and you’ll lose in flavor. If however you choose this method: forget all that is written above, we will not make reduction of the broth. After cooking your ingredients, introduce the correct amount of water. As soon as it muddy bubbles, immediately dispose of your rice without waiting.
  • 6 - Ajouter le safran et le riz dans la Paella.The most widespread: the rivets. Use the rivets of the paella handles that appear inside the edges of the paella as markers. Introduce your water well beyond them until they disappear. Reduce the broth very quickly. When the rivets are again fully visible, arrange your rice in a large bar shape that crosses your paella in its largest diagonal (see photo). This line of pyramidal rice, must exceed the broth a good centimeter in height. You then have the right amount of rice compared to your broth. All paellas (from Valencia) are designed for this method to work. All you have to do is spread out your rice and follow the cooking times.
  • The smartest: the house landmark. Begin by introducing the right volume of water: 2.5 to 3 volumes of water only. Divide your ingredients well using your palette. Place it in the middle of your paella and locate the level of the broth on it with any visual mark. Add 1 to 2 more water and reduce to very high heat. You just have to watch the level go down and wait until it is again at the mark that you have memorized: then introduce your rice.
  • The most difficult: the experience. Some cooks do not measure water or rice. By dint of practice, you will acquire the good sense of the moment, the quantity and the equilibrium broth / rice. All you have to do is dozens of Paellas! 🙂

Without reduction? the perfect method for beginners but with the disadvantage of a loss of flavor. Use the rivets? Paellas thus realized are too thick for my taste, unless to have a paella which has the rivets fixed very low. With a house landmark? Perfectly suited to your needs: the ideal method for me, as long as you do not have the divine inspiration of the experience 🙂

Whatever your method, mastering the cooking time of the rice and the transition between high and low heat is not only essential for your rice success, but also saves in case of a small tempo or volume error.

Tip: If you’re just starting out, consider reserving a little broth in a saucepan that you’ll keep close at hand, warm if possible. It is a small security for cooking that follows. This is generally not recommended for flavor, but it is better to lose a bit than to end up with a crunchy rice in your Paella …