Paella rice with rabbit and snails
A recipe from Paella
Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking: 17 minutes (excluding stock)
Serves: 4 people
100ml (scant ½ cup) olive oil
1 oven-ready rabbit, boned and cut into 30g (1oz) pieces (reserve the bones)
3 sprigs of thyme
1 small sprig of rosemary, leaves picked
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried ñora pepper, stalk and seeds removed, coarsely crumbled
1 tomato, halved, seeded and grated, skin discarded
1kg (2¼lb) snails, purged and cooked, shells discarded
100ml (scant ¼ cup) good-quality sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika
400g (2 cups) bomba or other shortgrain rice
1 litre (4¼ cups) Rabbit Stock
½ teaspoon saffron threads, toasted and pounded salt and pepper
For an extra-fine texture, use a 51-cm (20-inch) paella pan.
Preheat the barbecue or grill. Make sure that the paella pan is completely level to ensure that the paella cooks evenly. Heat the olive oil in the paella pan over medium-high heat or by positioning the pan close to the heat source. Sauté the rabbit with the thyme, rosemary, garlic and ñora pepper until the rabbit is browned all over, then take out the thyme, rosemary and garlic so that they do not burn. Push the meat towards the edge of the pan and add the grated tomato to the centre. Cook, stirring until starting to thicken and reduce, then add the snails and sherry vinegar. Finish reducing the tomato over low heat by removing some embers from underneath the pan or by positioning it far enough from the heat source for the contents to cook very gently. Add the paprika and cook for a few seconds more, stirring together all the ingredients thoroughly.
Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spatula, until thoroughly coated and translucent; do not allow to burn. Add the hot stock. Taste and season with salt. Arrange the rice and other ingredients attractively in the pan. They will stay where you put them until the paella is served – from now on, the rice should be left to cook undisturbed.
After 5 minutes, reduce the heat by removing some embers from under the pan or raising the trivet or grill rack so that the pan is further away from the heat source (or by moving the pan to a cooler part of the barbecue or grill). As soon as the rice rises to the surface, reduce the heat again so that the paella cooks very gently.
Finish cooking the rice, allowing all the remaining stock in the pan to evaporate. Taste to check whether the rice is cooked: it should be tender but still very slightly firm to the bite. If it is a little too firm, cover the paella with a clean, damp dish towel for 2–3 minutes to finish cooking. If it is much too firm, sprinkle a few tablespoons of hot water over the surface of the rice and continue cooking until the rice is tender. Allow to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
If you want to make a socarret, or crust on the bottom of the pan, remove the dish towel and place the pan directly on the embers or over the hottest part of the barbecue for 2 minutes. A thin layer of rice will stick to the bottom of the pan; the texture will be crunchy, with no trace of bitterness. Remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately.