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Paella (What’s that you say?)
  • Valencian pronunciation: paˈeʎa or pəˈeʎ;,
  • Spanish: paˈeʎa;
  • English approximation: /pɑːˈeɪlə/ or /paɪˈɛlə/

The meal is widely regarded as Spain's national dish, as well as a regional Valencian dish; Valencians regard paella as one of their identifying symbols. As a Valencian rice dish with ancient roots, it may have originated in its modern form during the mid-19th century near Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain which is next door to the city of Valencia.

Origin (Likely)

Once old Roman irrigation systems were improved greater yields in rice production were possible. With this increase, residents of the Valencian region often made casseroles of rice, fish and spices for family gatherings and religious feasts, thus establishing the custom of eating rice in Spain. Later on cooks combine the rice with vegetables, beans and dry cod, providing an acceptable meal for Lent.

Valencia (BC and Anno Paella)

Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea.

Valencia is known internationally for the Falles (Las Fallas), a local festival held in March, and for

  • Paella Valenciana,
  • traditional Valencian ceramics,
  • intricate traditional dress, and
  • the architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences.

And let’s not forget La Tomatina, an annual tomato fight, draws crowds to the nearby town of Buñol in August.

Recipe (Paella Valenciana - Wikibooks Cookbook )

This recipe is standardized because Valencians consider it traditional and very much part of their culture. Rice in Valencian paella is never braised in oil, as pilaf, though the paella made further southwest of Valencia often is.

  • Heat oil in a paella.
  • Sauté meat after seasoning with salt.
  • Add green vegetables and sauté until soft.
  • Add garlic (optional), grated tomatoes, beans and sauté.
  • Add paprika and sauté.
  • Add water, saffron (and/or food coloring), snails (optional) and rosemary.
  • Boil to make broth and allow it to reduce by half.
  • Remove the rosemary once flavour has infused or it starts to fall apart.
  • Add rice and simmer until rice is cooked.
  • Garnish with more fresh rosemary.


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