Cooking a Spanish paella outdoors in February may seem like an odd thing to do but in the "Altiplano" February usually sees some pleasantly warm days. It is always frosty in the mornings high up in the mountains but when the sun retires the temperature drops quite dramatically! There is however a good four hour window in which you can cook and enjoy what could be a summers day - any excuse for a fiesta!
Pablo is a neighbour of ours who has a cave house just a few hundred yards away, he is also a chef by trade and has an uncanny enthusiasm for Spanish food. Originaly from Asturias there is a degree of French and Catalan influence in his dishes however when it comes to paella the flavour is always spot on.
The party started early Saturday afternoon with the usual pre paella tapas, this time it was crab and a delicious sobrasada both served on biscuits. The barbeque was lit using sticks from the nearby wood and we had brought some fresh stock having had a chicken the evening before (good stock is the foundation of any good paella). The choice was mixed meat, a selection of chicken pieces, rabbit and pork. In true style most of the meat was still on the bone, all of which adds to flavour of the paella.
An hour later the paella was ready and placed center of the table to rest for a few minutes. The verdict..? Delicious!
Ingredients: (Mixed meat paella to serve 8)
1 small chicken, chopped into small pieces
1 rabbit chopped into small pieces
450g pork ribs, cut into small pieces
5 ripe tomates
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
6 cloves garlic
1 kilo bomba rice
2 litres chicken stock
salt and pepper
lemon wedges to serve
How to Cook:
1. Prepare the vegetables and chop into small pieces, crush the garlic
2. Heat the olive oil in the paella pan and add the meat, cook over a gentle flame to brown all over about 25 minutes
3. Meanwhile sautee the vegetables in a seerate pan and then cook on a low heat to soften and reduce, about 20 minutes
4. Add the softened vegetables to the meat and cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Pour the stock in a pan over a high heat to warm up.
6. Add the rice one cupfull at atime, for bobma rice you need 2.5 times the stock as the rice.
7. Add the saffron (crushed and blended with a little stock first)
8. Slowly add the stock and then season (rice needs quite a bit of salt)
9. Stir once and then increase the heat for a few minutes until the stock bubbles, leave to cook over a low flame for around 20 minutes - This paella was cooked outdoors using wood as fuel and Pablo did a great job regulating the heat, adding small sticks to increase the heat when necessary.
10. When the rice is cooked add the lemon wedges and then remove the paella from the heat, cover and leave to rest for 5 minutes or so to allow the rice to absorb the rest of the stock.
11. Serve and enjoy - as we did!