Real Valencian Paella | Posted: 17 February 2017
Brian and Pat Fagg, who will look after you for the last part of our walking holiday in Alicante
Explore dramatic scenery on a walking holiday in Valencia
Try some authentic Valencian paella on a self-guided walking holiday in Alicante

Learn to make authentic Valencian mountain paella – from the people who really know...

There was a heated debate reported in The Independent a while ago, in which various paella aficionados discussed what it takes to make an authentic Spanish paella. And, most importantly, what added ingredients might exclude recipes from the hallowed paella real club, with its strict adherence to tradition.

The controversy stemmed from an advert which showed someone daring to put onions in! Can you believe it?

Despite there being two main versions – on the coast, it’s normal to use mussels and prawns, while inland the meats are rabbit and chicken – the addition of an onion, to the purists, was an allium too far, el grande faux pas! So we thought we’d ask our friends in Alicante for what they believe to be the recipe for true Valencian paella (and there wasn’t an onion in sight!).

OK, so Brian and Pat Fagg are English but they have been living in Spain for over twenty years and Pat’s culinary skills are highly thought of by her Spanish neighbours in the quiet mountain village of Quatretondeta. When it comes to cooking, she is a true ex-Pat – where ‘ex’ definitely refers to expert.

She told us, “Here is my authentic Valencian paella recipe. You will see that it contains neither onion nor garlic! Paella is a hard dish to cook for those who are not familiar with the traditions and the method. The results come with experience. Valencian paella is traditionally cooked with Valencian rice, in the open air and over orange wood. Valencian rice is not a problem for the modern cook – but these days we have to make do with a modern cooker or paella gas ring!”

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Ingredients (serves 4)

• 400g chicken
• 400g rabbit
• 200g runner beans
• 200g haricot beans
• 400g rice
• 100g fresh tomato, grated
• 125ml olive oil
• water
• salt
• saffron
• ½ tsp sweet paprika
• 2 or 3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped


1. Heat the olive oil in the paella pan.
2. Add the meat, sauté until golden brown.
3. Push the meat to the outside of the pan and add the green beans. Sauté until almost cooked. Keep stirring the beans so they don’t burn.
3. Add the grated tomato and sauté for 2 minutes.
4. Add the paprika. Stir in rapidly so it doesn’t burn. Add the water to the pan. The measure is double the quantity of rice.
5. Add the haricot beans, a large pinch of saffron and salt to taste. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. As the level of water reduces, add a little more water to maintain the original level.
6. Taste the stock and add more salt if necessary. Bring the stock back up to the boil and add the rice, spreading it evenly over the pan, then turn down to a simmer.
7. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary leaves evenly over the dish and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes until the stock has been absorbed. Do not cover.
8. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
9. Gather a few friends round the kitchen table; tear off some crusty bread; pour out a glass or two of full-bodied red (Brian recommends “Penya Cadiella” from their local winery, Vins de Comtat; or a bottle of Valencian red of the Bobal variety) – and let the convivial chat and laughter begin. Perfect!

So close to the real one. It's difficult to find good paella recipes in the Internet. Good job
29/09/2016 11:31:18

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