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Valencian-Style Paella (Paella Valenciana)

4 Tbs olive oil
2 lb chicken pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
10 oz green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 to 3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
7 oz canned white beans (cannellini or white navy), rinsed and drained
24 cooked snails (escargots)*
6 cups water
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp saffron, crushed, or 1/4 tsp ground turmeric, or a couple of drops of yellow food coloring
2 cups Spanish paella rice or Italian arborio rice

* Canned cooked snails are available in finer supermarkets and gourmet specialty shops.

Heat the oil in a large skillet (preferably 16 to 18 inches in diameter) over moderate heat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Add the peppers, green beans, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, white beans, snails, and water. Simmer uncovered over low heat until the chicken is almost done, about 15 minutes. Add the paprika and saffron and raise the heat to bring the liquid to a boil. Add the rice, stirring to distribute it evenly. Cook for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook an additional 12 to 15 minutes, until the rice is almost done. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

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