The Spanish influence from language to architecture is found everywhere in Cuba. But Spain’s influence on Cuban life cannot be more apparent than in Cuban cooking. Oceania’s Cruise Line’s Culinary Director, Executive Chef Franck Garanger, lived in Valencia, Spain where he mastered many recipes including Paella. Here is Franck’s recipe for Paella Valencia.
Franck’s Paella Valenciana
2 tomatoes, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 sprigs flat parsley, chopped
71/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon saffron pistils
1/2 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
3/4 cup squid, sliced into rings
10 tiger prawns (large shrimp)
3/4 cup pork, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into 10 pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón de la vera)
3/4 cup flat white beans
2 1/2 cups Sarica Valencia paella rice
10 fresh black mussels
1/3 cup fava beans
3/4 cup peas
2 lemons, quartered
FOR THE TOMATO BASE
Combine the fresh tomatoes with the garlic and crush using a mortar. Mix in the parsley and then set the tomato base aside.
FOR THE PAELLA
Heat the chicken stock and add the saffron pistils. Bring to a boil, and then set aside. In a paella pan, add oil, sauté the bell peppers on low heat until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. In the same pan, sear the squid and prawns. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
Add the diced pork, and olive oil, if necessary. Sauté on medium heat until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Roast until chicken is cooked through. Deglaze with the tomato base and add the paprika. Add the flat beans to the pan and cook until all the water evaporates and it begins roasting again. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes. Mix in the saffron chicken stock and place the bell peppers on top.
Add the fresh mussels, prawns, squid, peas and fava beans. Bring to a boil and cook on high for approximately 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid evaporates and mussels open. Do not stir the rice in order to create the soccarat, or crispy crust, on the bottom. Garnish with lemon quarters.
* socarrat – crust that forms on the bottom of the pan when cooking paella.