The Secret to Paella

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At the risk of being hunted down, I am sharing Catalonian chef Joan Marce Gonzalez secret to perfecting a paella – in what he calls Catalonian style. Note to all chefs – you can’t expect to share your secrets with a bunch of travel bloggers and have them kept as secrets.   But I digress.  Back to Joan Marce Gonzalez.  He is also the same chef that also prepared our calcots at our Catalonian Gastronomical Event.catalonian paella

Surprisingly, the secret doesn’t lie with the ingredients.  There were no secret ingredients or at least ones that our Catalonian chef was willing to share with us.  A good chef is entitled to keep a few secrets.  Safe from the prying eyes of a group of hungry travel bloggers.
Adding riceBut it starts with the rice.  The secret to paella is that once you pour the rice in you don’t  stir  -not even once!  You will want to cook it a moderate temperature to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, so be patient.  A perfect paella is not to be rushed!

Everything else gets placed on top of the rice – without mixing it all together.  Perhaps this is where my paellas have gone wrong – too much stirring, at too high heat.
Voila!  This is what your paella should look like which fed a group of around 10.  It is ideally complemented by locally grown Catalonian  MF Wines.  And of course, a spectacular location like this luxury villa in the charming village of Besalu doesn’t hurt either.
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Thank you to Joan Marce Gonzalez for sharing his secrets and to Charming Villas for hosting our paella.

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Laurel
Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel. She's passionate about getting outdoors as often as possible and helping travellers do the same on their vacation in a sustainable way. She's Canadian and grew up in the Canadian Rockies but now lives in Munich, Germany. You can find her skiing or hiking in the mountains most weekends, hanging out with her cat or with her nose in a good book.

Comments

March 7, 2012
Interesting about the no stir practice. The result looks mouth watering.
Laurel
March 7, 2012
@Italian Notes - I know, I had no idea either. It was delicious and gives me something to aspire too - if I can do it without burning it.
Sabrina
March 7, 2012
That's the big secret? I have to try it :) Even though I am really afraid that things will stick at the bottom... So, based on the pics it looks like you prepare a kind of broth first with spices and all, then you add the rice, and then you add the fish and bell peppers?
March 7, 2012
this looks SO good. time for a trip!
Laurel
March 7, 2012
@Sabrina - Exactly! I haven't tried it yet on my own, but I'm pretty sure my usual method of cooking on "maximum" would not work for this. @Wandering educators - It was delicious, although not as spicy as I thought it would be. The seafood was the "piece die resistance"
March 8, 2012
Lovely lovely! I don't think I have ever tried to cook a paella because it's not the kind of cooking you undergo for two people, but now that you say it, the "no stirring" makes sense. All the paellas I have seen had layers of ingredients, not stir-fried like Chinese rice for instance.
March 8, 2012
That looks incredible. And I had no idea Catalonia looked so much like Santa Barbara (my home town in California!). I don't know if I could bring myself NOT TO STIR though. That requires a self control I do not possess.
March 8, 2012
Don't stir the paella, sounds so simple but will be hard for me to resist. Will have to try it, the results look amazing!
March 9, 2012
I still drool a little when I think about the first paella I had in Spain.
anne
March 11, 2012
Its the same with french fried don't ever stir makes them mushy. Thanks will try making this wonderful dish.
anne
March 11, 2012
oops french fries

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