Paella a la Valenciana

Paella a la Valenciana

1 rounded cup dried large white beans
1/2 cup olive oil

1 chicken or rabbit, about 3 lb., cut into 8  serving pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. saffron threads, crushed

4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 cups chicken stock

1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed, blanched for 3 to 5 minutes and drained

2 fresh rosemary sprigs, tough stems discarded,leaves chopped
2 1/2 cups Spanish paella rice

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Lemon wedges for garnish

Place the white beans in a large bowl, cover with water and refrigerate overnight. Drain the beans and place in a saucepan with water to cover by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove the beans from the heat, drain and set aside.

In a paella pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Season the chicken or rabbit with salt and pepper and add to the hot oil. Brown well on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, saffron and tomatoes to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Return the chicken or rabbit to the pan, add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the white and green beans, rosemary and rice and stir to mix. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, without stirring, until the rice is nearly tender, about 20 minutes. Tuck the shrimp into the rice during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Let the paella stand, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes so the rice absorbs all the liquid. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Spain & Portugal, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 2000).