Rural paella with rabbit and quail
Paella is cooked everywhere in Spain, also inland. This is an example of one of those paellas. It is my adaptation of a recipe by Miguel Maestres. Don't worry about not having a paella pan or "paellera", I don't have one either. Use a large good inox pan. The only thing you really have to watch is the temperature. Making a paella takes time, don't make this if you're in a hurry.
1. The day before
I used half a rabbit that has to be marinated overnight. Marinade made in a mortar, starting with crushing a teaspoon each of dried juniper berries, black pepper corns, salt, 3-4 cloves of garlic. Add 60 ml each of olive oil and dry sherry (fino or manzanilla). Pour over the rabbit cut in pieces, cover and let marinate overnight.
The rest of the ingredients I used are; quail, cut in half, removed the legs. Merguez sausages cut in smaller sizes. Fresh thyme, fresh oregano and a few fresh lovage leafs. Half a large red bell pepper. More garlic, chopped, a little chorizo, almonds (I used flakes, whole blanched ones are better), black olives, good saffron, round "paella" rice. Not in this picture; 1/2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika), more olive oil, lemon juice, more dry sherry.
You also need 1 liter of chicken stock over 400 grams of rice. If you want ratios for making other quantities, work with volumes; 1 volume rice and 2 volumes stock.
2. The next day
Searing the meat; you need to take ample time for this. All meat has to be nicely browned. This whole thing took me more than half an hour! Heat your pan to high, add olive oil, start searing the quail and merguez, later on, add chorizo. Now add the pieces of rabbit, one at a time, straight out of the marinade. If your pan is a bit too small, simply remove a few pieces temporarily. Sear the rabbit for at least 15-25 minutes. Add the remaining marinade and keep on searing all the meat, it has to be really browned.
Remove all the meat from the pan. Add some more olive oil if necessary. Take the heat down to medium. Add chopped garlic, thyme stripped off their branches and the chopped fresh oregano. Let simmer for a while.
Add red bell pepper, peeled and cut in strips, olives, almonds, saffron, pimentón, good dash of dry sherry. Let the alcohol evaporate for a while, then add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Now add all the meat back and let simmer for a while.
Now add the rice by sprinkling it around. Gently shake the pan in order to submerge all rice grains.
From now on no more stirring!!! Let simmer gently. If you keep stirring, you will not have a crust forming on the bottom of the pan. This "socarrat" as it is called is almost a must in a good paella. When is the paella ready? Take a spoon and keep tasting the rice time after time. It has to be just done. Now is the time to squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the preparation and let it simmer for a minute longer and you're ready to serve. If you added the right amount of liquid and cooked the rice over not too high heat, the rice should come out perfectly.
Edited by ChrisBelgium - 7/7/14 at 5:00am