Saffron in paella, secrets and uses


Paella is a traditional dish originally from the Valencian community and can already be considered universal due to its popularity and good acceptance worldwide, due to its adaptation to different cultures. the "true paella" has degraded in "rice with things" in many cases, this circumstance alerted the "purists" of the traditional recipe and in 2012 the Denomination of Origin Rice of Valencia was achieved for the traditional Valencian paella, a standardized recipe that meets certain requirements and that adds value to the Valencian Community and, of course, to Spain.

From the moment of obtaining the DO any restaurant that wants to show off serving the authentic "paella valenciana" must use 10 basic ingredients and not others, the ingredients covered by the Denomination of Origin are:

Oil, Polo, Rabbit, "ferraura" ( green bean broad and flat), "Garrofo or Bajoqueta" (legume that is grown in the Valencian community and that has its origin in Peru, also called Lima bean), natural tomato, water, salt, rice and saffron .

Along with the 10 basic ingredients you can use the traditional elements of each area, such as adding artichoke, duck, garlic, snails, rosemary or paprika.

The rest of the elaborations that do not respect the basic ingredients should be called Paella de .. "X", but never Paella Valenciana, with this measure a recipe from the SPAIN brand is protected and that has so much recognition. < p> It must be said that one of the most special ingredients of the paella is the "true saffron", it is a natural spice that gives color, flavor and special aroma to the real paella, in a common way saffron is avoided and chemical coloring is included (tartrazine), it is very sad but there are even people who believe that saffron is the food coloring, the result of using the chemical is very distressing gastronomically and harmful to health, has all the negative that can be asked, the reason that saffron is not used is ignorance and ignorance , also the neglect of many chefs.

The truth is that saffron, despite being highly valued, often do not know what to do with it or how to use it well to have optimal results. Its aroma fits perfectly with countless recipes, both sweet and salty, the trick to highlight its flavor and make the most of it is to give it a heat stroke to toast it lightly, without burning it, until the texture of the saffron becomes brittle, once it has been achieved, it will be enough to crush it and add it to the recipe, either directly or by diluting it in the broth or sauce that will be used in the recipe.

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Particularly in the Paella it is best, once undone or crushed, to add it to the hot broth to dissolve it, while adding the rice next to the sofrito in the paella to give it some laps and to soak it well, then add the broth with the saffron already diluted and this is distributed evenly throughout the paellero and so we do not have to move the rice during cooking.

A part of the true paella, the use of saffron is also used in pasta dishes, soups, stews of meat or fish, pastries (sponge cakes, muffins, etc.), desserts and infusions.

In Aragón we have Paella Popular (Rice with Saffron)

In ancient times, after the signing of a contract, the agreement was sealed with a treat called "Lifara", popularly in Aragon the word lifara is synonymous with great binge, there are currently many pilgrimages or picnics where the culinary act is celebrated with the popular paella, this would be one of the recipes of this type of rice:


Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Bajo Aragón, Chicken, Rabbit, Grated natural tomato, beans, sweet and sour paprika from La Vera, Saffron from Jiloca, salt and rice.


Cut the rabbit and chicken into small pieces, clean and chop the green beans, heat the oil in the paella and fry the meat properly seasoned, a Once cooked, add the green beans, stir and leave to cook. Add the tomato, half a spoonful of paprika, in the hot broth, add the saffron and the salt, turn it a few times, add the rice to the paella pan and sauté with all the sofrito, add the broth with saffron and salt to the paella pan, continue cooking for 20 minutes, turn off and let stand a few minutes, serve and enjoy.

* If the saffron is pure and of quality enough to add 3 - 4 strands per person.

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