How to make paella for 400 people!

OliveOilTour Articles

How to make paella for 400 people
Underneath you will find the recipe to prepare a delicious paella, but not just any paella, a very special one! And with a lot of art! For 12 consecutive years, Nicolas from “el Palo” makes a gigantic paella for the enjoyment of Nigüelas inhabitants and anybody else who happens to be around at the time! In recent years the money donated has been used for reforming the tower of XVI century village church which was built in the Mudejar architectural style.

Here are the ingredients: (you might need some help to carry everything!)
–    70 kilos of rice
–    10 liters of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
–    140 liters of water
–    14 liters of white wine
–    20 kilos of roasted red peppers (up to 60 kilos of peppers if you wish to roast them yourself)

Don’t forget to tell your butcher in advance; he will be delighted to prepare the following ingredients!
–    45 kilos of chicken
–    25 kilos of rabbit
–    15 kilos of pork loin
–    15 kilos of  pork ribs, divided into pieces

You’ll also need:
–    10 kilos of green peas
–    10 kilos of artichokes
–    10 kilos of carrots
–    5 kilos of green peppers
–    5 kilos of red peppers
–    4 kilos of “majado” (mashed roast rabbit and chicken livers)
–    3 kilos of canned tomatoes
–    2 kilos of salt
–    1,5 kilos chopped garlic
–    1 kilo of ground seasoning (a mixture of thyme, rosemary, chives, pepper, paprika and saffron)

Prior to starting the paella, prepare the majado;  this is one of the secrets of this great paella:
You wonder how it is made. It’s easy: stir-fry garlic then take it out, then stir-fry the livers with dried red peppers, add some water and mix everything in the mixer.

Now it’s time to start cooking, you’ll surely need a few friends to help with the preparation:

The first important thing to do is to balance the pan: place it on some bricks and form a base of sand on top of which to pile logs before lighting the wood fire. Pour a reasonable amount of EVOO olive oil into the pan: not too much otherwise the paella would be too greasy but not too little either because that would cause the paella to turn out dry and possibly burnt! When the oil is hot, check if the pan is level, (the oil should settle in the center of the pan rather than accumulate on one side). This way we can make sure that the paella will cook evenly rather than burn in places as the pan is so big! As the pan heats up it changes shape, so some readjustment of the bricks underneath may be needed after a while!

We use long wooden spades, (we call them “paddles”) to stir the paella while cooking.

Now let’s prepare the “sofrito” (stir-frying): First let’s add the chopped garlic so the EVOO can get impregnated, then add the pork, rabbit and chicken meat. They must be placed in the center of the pan where the heat is greater so the pan does not get burnt. Add finely chopped green and red peppers and soon after, the carrots. Cook for a while then add the salt. Now it’s the turn of the wine and the “majado”. The final touch to the sofrito is the green peas, artichokes, tomatoes and the roast red peppers, and here we are!

Now let’s add the water. How do we do it?
Here in Nigüelas we are lucky to benefit from pure spring water coming from the Sierra Nevada Mountain, directly to our tap!
Open the tap water and let it flow through a hose into a bucket for about a minute depending on the quantity we require. You will need two liters of water for each kilo of rice. Add the water to the pan in two stages (as the pan is very hot, some water gets evaporated so after a while we have to add more to replace the missing amount)! When the water boils, it is time to add the rice.

Adding the rice:
With the paddles we spread it evenly over the entire pan.   Allow the rice to cook slowly without stirring it anymore. The general idea is that after the water has boiled rapidly it needs to be kept on a rolling boil but more slowly until cooked, then boiled quickly again in order to dry the rice and immediately after, turn off the fire because otherwise it will overcook!
Good luck! Bon appétit! Ole!