from paella to senyoret, passing through baked rice

from paella to senyoret, passing through baked rice

Repeated a thousand times, almost like an unofficial anthem of Valencia, the string of ‘Valencia is the land of flowers, light and rice‘. Yes, it is not a mistake, but a reality. Few regions, not just in Spain, can boast of having elevated rice recipes to almost the category of art.

A universe where everything orbits through this simple grain —round or bomb, although there are other varieties— that serves to multiply the meaning of the word paella, despite the fact that we know that there is one paella, and not fifty-one.

Or so it is intended, of course, because the authentic Valencian paella only needs a dozen ingredients —and fire, of course—, but it is not the only one golden banner with which the Valencian Community satisfies since the terreta to natives and travellers.

We are talking about paella —and its popularized versions—, but also about senyoret (or senorito) rice, baked rice, black rice or the infinity of local recipes that are still popular today. Besides, not all in dry rice, perhaps the most common, but the soupy rice dishes —beyond the so-called lobster rice— take on vital importance.

In the same way, vegetable rice is essential in any house, much more common in homes than in restaurants, where the most ‘seafaring’ rice dishes tend to prevail, whether based on fish or shellfish. Nor is the weather far behind.

Perhaps we think that rice dishes are a summer dish, but today we will see that most of the rice dishes that are forged in the Valencian Community have a lot more than winter, traditional cuisine and use than the summer rice binge and, furthermore, they are easily distinguishable from the Murcian or Catalan rice dishes.

Valencian paella

Is he alpha and omega of Valencian rice, although the prodigal sons that have emerged from it turn this issue into a perpetual controversy. It is true that we have seen many aberrations, both inside and outside our borders, including adding seafood to the point of exhaustion or extravagant proposals, chorizo ​​through.

The reality is that the authentic paella hardly you need ten ingredients to get going. Some are obvious such as rice, water, olive oil or saffron, but the rest point to more controversy. This is the case of the tomato, for the sofrito, and the ‘green’ part at the expense of the flat green bean (la bajoqueta) and the garrofó (a tender bean that, in my opinion, if it is just right, is the best part of paella ).

As for meats, little science: chicken meat and rabbit meat that, as the canons dictate, must be marked on the paella —name of the container— so that they are roasted and leave their flavor.

Metaltex – Enameled Steel INDUCTION Paella Pan 6 Servings (34 cm)

Plenty of rice

Plenty of rice

Surely we are facing one of the great stars of Valencian rice dishes, which is no longer limited to a specific area, although its origins are from Alicante. The key is to be a rice in two batches: first a powerful broth is made, sometimes including salmorreta, with seafood and whitebait, and the next day a rice is made with that broth and part of the shredded meat is added to it. We have taken advantage of the fish. This is the authentic arroz a banda.

The other great version of ‘a banda’ is the senyoret rice, which is very similar in essence, but with the difference that the senyoret —or senorito— includes nobler seafood and fish such as prawns, grouper or squid, and they must come peeled so that the diner does not get their hands dirty. Hence the name ‘senyoret’.

In both cases Garlic oil or alioli always appears in addition.

Baked rice

Baked rice

Although the imaginary leads us to a very powerful rice that is finished cooking in the oven, including pork ribs, chick peas, chorizo, heads of garlic or black pudding, Valencian baked rice does not always have to be so powerful, but it is very traditional.

Although its preparation is now widespread throughout the Community, this recipe that needs a deep clay pot for cooking It is typical of the province of Valencia, especially of some inland towns such as Onteniente, Játiva, Torrente or Cheste, although they are not the only ones.

Among the ingredients we must also mention the tomato, which is part of the final crown of the rice, and the potato, which makes a dish that is even more substantial. born as a use of the remains of the cooked the day before, using the broth to cook the rice.

As a curiosity, it is worth mentioning that was known as arros passejat or rammed rice, Well, domestic ovens were not so common decades ago, so the Valencian guisanderas cooked them in the bread ovens of the different towns.

Rice with rabbit and snails

Rice with rabbit and snails

Is he dry and serrano rice par excellence from the province of Alicante, eminently from the interior of the province, whose fame has also transcended Murcian cuisine. The key, as in most rice dishes, is knowing how to make a good base with the sauce.

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Generally, you have to let the rabbit leaves all its scent and lightly clings to the bottom of paella, where crushed tomatoes and ñoras are also used, which will serve to enhance the flavor and also to ‘lift’ the grip of that rice with rabbit and snails.

Rice with naps and fessols

Perhaps not so frequent for tourists, but for Valencians, this naps i fessols rice (turnips and beans) is another of the kings of Levantine rice, especially in some regions such as La Marina Alta, Marina Baja, La Safor or L’Horta.

Its peculiarity is that it is a soupy rice that is usual to eat also from one day to the next, closer to a stew than to dry rice, since its potency implies, in addition to turnips and beans, the presence of certain cuts of meat (longanizas or onion black pudding), a powerful broth made from pork bones and backbone, as well as of spinach leaves. For this reason it is sometimes known as ‘arròs junt’.

Acan Round Clay Casserole with Handles, Outside diameter 26 cm (Handles Included), Inside diameter 22 cm, Suitable for vitro and oven

Acan Round Clay Casserole with Handles, Outside diameter 26 cm (Handles Included), Inside diameter 22 cm, Suitable for vitro and oven

Beef liver paella

Paella Fetge De Bou

The rice with fetge de bou (ox liver) is one of the curious rarities of Valencian L’Horta Nord, particularly from towns like Meliana, where farmers used discarded ingredients from slaughterhouses and friendly ranchers in their rice dishes, such as offal.

This rice, powerful and wintery, is started with a garlic, paprika and chilli sauce, where the offal is also added —the ox liver, in more or less small pieces—, the endive and the chickpeas, which will give substance to the broth to later make a quite sweet paella. In addition, they explain, it is better to do it with Albufera rice, which better absorbs the flavor of the broth and also maintains the grain.

Crusted rice

At first glance it might seem that the rice with crosta It is a simple baked rice, but it has a fundamental difference that changes completely, even though the ingredients are very similar. It is about adding beaten egg to prepare baked rice, creating that crispy, golden crust on the surface with a blow from the oven.

Typical of the Vega Baja del Segura, already in Alicante, it is very common to see it in houses and restaurants in Orihuela and Callosa del Segura, as well as being recurrent in the kitchens of Elche, where both homes and restaurateurs tend to serve it frequently.

The trick is, in addition to making a good base, that the egg curdles slightly between the rice grains but the crust is crispy and that, in no case, the dish should end up looking like an omelette.

Rice with chard and snails

The snail not only stars in paella, but also this winter rice where chard and beans are once again the protagonists. Caldoso, almost soup, is a traditional dish from the Valencian orchard, where all the humble houses had cooked it for generations.

Surely it is even more Valencian than paella itself, but as the orchards were abandoned and more noble ingredients were included, it lost prominence. Something that also happens to another classic such as the cauliflower and cod paella, typical Levantine Lent dish based on desalted cod and cauliflower bouquets which, in this case, do lend themselves to making dry rice.

Also dry, half seafood and half gardener, is another icon like the paella with sardines and spinach, although this time it is a clearly summery dish with seasonal fish and very juicy spinach. In his case, we are talking about a typical dish from Jávea, in Alicante, although it is common to see it in the surroundings as well.

stoned rice

Although under the name of paved rice we find many preparations, one of the most particular is the arròs empedrat from Villarreal, that in a texture of rice that is more soupy than mellow, puts cod and legumes to dance, in a very traditional dish from some regions of Castellón.

The key, of course, is infuse the water with the saffron and then start a good sauce with pepper, garlic and tomato, that we will take off with the broth itself. In this case, although the proportions of water and rice are more generous, the key is to achieve that sweetness so that it does not end up dry and that in Villarreal they call corrent.

It is a plate of Lenten imprint, although in towns like Vall de Uxó it is also done with game and, if we leave Castellón, it is common to see paved rice in Alicante and in some towns in Murcia.

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