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Spanish Paella
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Paella is a Valencian rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near lake Albufiera, a lagoon in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain.

Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain's national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols. There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella (Spanish: paella valenciana), seafood paella (Spanish: paella de marisco) and mixed paella (Spanish: paella mixta), but there are many others as well. Valencian paella consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), snails, beans and seasoning. Seafood paella replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables and sometimes beans. Most paella chefs use calasparra or bomba rices for this dish. Other key ingredients include saffron and olive oil.

Paella is a Catalan word which derives from the Old French word paelle for pan, which in turn comes from the Latin word patella for pan as well. Patella is also akin to the modern French poêle, the Welsh padell, the Italian padella,[11] the Old Spanish padilla[12] the Polish patelnia [13] and the New Mexican Spanish puela.

Valencians use the word paella for all pans, including the specialized shallow pan used for cooking paellas. However, in most of Spain and throughout Latin America, the term paellera is more commonly used for this pan, though both terms are correct, as stated by the Royal Spanish Academy, the body responsible for regulating the Spanish language. Paelleras are traditionally round and shallow, made of polished steel with two handles.

A popular but inaccurate belief in the Arab world is that the word paella derives from the Arabic word for leftovers, baqiyah, because it was customary among Arab sailors to combine leftovers of previous meals which purportedly led to a paella-like creation in Moorish Spain.

The people of Moorish Spain often made casseroles of rice, fish and spices for family gatherings and religious feasts, thus establishing the custom of eating rice in Spain. This led to rice becoming a staple by the 15th century when Spanish Catholics expelled the Muslims. Afterwards, it became customary for cooks to combine rice with vegetables, beans and dry cod, providing an acceptable meal for Lent. Fish always predominated with rice along Spain's eastern coast.

According to tradition in Valencia, paella is cooked by men over an open fire, fueled by orange and pine branches along with pine cones. This produces an aromatic smoke which infuses the paella. Also, dinner guests traditionally eat directly out of the paellera - recipes and more at: Wikipedia







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