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How To Make Paella Mixta: A Spin on Spain’s Iconic Dish

How To Make Paella Mixta: A Spin on Spain’s Iconic Dish

spain's quintessential dish

Paella isn’t just food; it’s a piece of Spain, brimming with color and flavor. It’s a symbol of Spanish culture, embodying warmth and culinary mastery.

The dish’s name derives from the Valencian word “paella,” meaning “pan,” referring to the shallow, wide-rimmed skillet essential for its traditional preparation.

Historical records suggest that the Moors introduced rice cultivation to Spain during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, laying the foundation for what would eventually evolve into the iconic dish we know today.

While the precise inception of paella remains shrouded, its earliest iterations likely emerged in the 18th century, with the rice-centric dish gradually incorporating indigenous ingredients such as rabbit, snails, and various local vegetables. By the 19th century, paella had spread far beyond Valencia, becoming a must-have at gatherings all over Spain.

Paella’s journey to global renown began in the 20th century, propelled by waves of Spanish immigration and the growing interest in exotic cuisines. Today, chefs around the globe offer their interpretations. In Latin America, for instance, you’ll find variations like Peruvian Arroz con Mariscos and Colombian Arroz Atollado.

One of the most intriguing twists is Paella Mixta. It’s a blend of land and sea, mixing seafood with meat. It’s a modern take on the classic dish, born partly out of necessity in places with limited access to fresh seafood. However, changing tastes and dietary preferences are also factors.

So, how does Paella Mixta compare to the original? Let’s dive in and find out!

How to Make Paella vs Paella Mixta?

Paella and Paella Mixtra share a foundation of rice, saffron, and various vegetables. However, their nuances reveal distinctive characteristics that make each a unique gastronomic experience.

Both feature Bomba or Calasparra rice, renowned for absorbing flavors while maintaining a firm texture — a crucial element in any paella. 

However, the key difference lies in their protein selection. In its traditional Valencian form, paella highlights seafood, typically mussels, clams, and shrimp. On the other hand, Paella Mixta combines various proteins, often chicken, and sometimes even rabbit, in addition to seafood. 

While both versions incorporate vegetables like tomatoes, green beans, and peas, the proportions and selection may vary. Paella Mixta tends to include a broader array of vegetables to complement its diverse protein selection.

In essence, while paella and Paella Mixta share a common heritage and method of preparation, their unique blend of ingredients distinguishes them.

Now, let’s delve deeper into the world of Paella Mixta with Chef Troy Avitia of Oregon’s Bomba Paella Catering. In Chef’s Notebook: Paella, available to SOMM TV subscribers, he shares his recipe and technique for Paella Mixta.

Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure!

Building the fire / Image © SOMM TV

Chef Troy Avitia’s Paella Mixta Recipe

*Note: exact measurements are not mentioned in the episode. We encourage you to measure with your heart.

Bomba ricegarlicgreen beans
chicken thighstomato pastesaffron
Spanish chorizowhite winepimentón (paprika)
clamsduck fatkosher salt
musselschicken stockparsley
shrimpcooking oillemon
onionpiquillo peppersrosemary
1. Prep: chicken, onion, lemon, piquillo peppers, and saffron.
– Cut the chicken into smaller pieces so it cooks evenly and fully. Place in a bowl and season with pimentón and salt. Let marinate until ready to cook.
– Cut piquillo peppers in half. Dice onions. Slice lemons. Chop parsley and rosemary. Place each ingredient in separate bowls until ready to cook.
– Toast the saffron in a skillet on low to medium heat. Once toasted, grind with a mortar and pestle. Pour the saffron into a glass and add white wine. This infusion will help the saffron spread evenly throughout the pan when cooking.
how to make paella / Chef Troy Avitia / Image © SOMM TV
Chef Troy Avitia / Image © SOMM TV
Method continued…
2. Add oil and duck fat to hot pan.
3. Begin cooking by carefully placing the chicken on the pan. Brown on all sides and move them to the outer edge of the pan to prepare for the next ingredients.
4. Add chorizo and brown, then move to the outer edge of the pan.
5. Add peeled, deveined shrimp, garlic, pimentón, and salt. Cook until shrimp turn pink.
6. Remove shrimp and chorizo and place in a bowl before turning up the heat to high.
7. Add chicken stock, tomato paste, and onions. Bring to a boil.
8. Carefully place shellfish into the pan and add the Bomba rice.
9. Add saffron and wine infusion evenly.
10. Add green beans (pre-blanched), piquillo peppers, rosemary, and parsley.
how to make paella / Chef Troy Avitia / Image © SOMM TV
Image © SOMM TV
Method continued…
11. Re-add shrimp and chorizo.
12. Place lemons on top and continue cooking until rice becomes socarrat (crispy on the bottom).
13. Remove from heat after socarrat forms. Place a tea towel or cloth on top (letting steam escape) until ready to eat.
14. Serve and enjoy.
how to make paella / Chef Troy Avitia / Image © SOMM TV
Chef Troy Avitia / Image © SOMM TV

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