Friday, January 8, 2010

Paella de Coliflor Con Nabo y Costilla de Cerdo (Pork Rib, Turnip, and Cauliflower Paella)

This dish is a favorite in my household, when turnips were in season we'd make it at least once a week. It is a type of mixed paella with golden short-grain rice painted with saffron, seasoned with sweet smoked Spanish paprika, cooked with pork ribs, cauliflower, and turnips.

I first learned this recipe from a woman who calls herself "SHITAKE" a Valencian woman from Cullera, Spain now residing in the island of Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. Click here for her recipe, "PAELLA DE COLIFLOR CON NABO Y COSTILLA DE CERDO"

People from the region of Valencia are very well known for their rice dishes and they are the creators of the "Paella" however people abroad are only familiar with the "Paella Mixta" (Seafood and Meat) and "Paella de Mariscos" (Seafood Paella)

In addition there are many varieties of Paella, the common thing in all Paellas however is short-grain rice, garlic, tomato, liquid and coloring. The rest can vary and a number of combinations can be made using vegetables, meat and seafood

I will not get into the argument of what is authentic or traditional Paella. Paella has been customized so much depending on regional and local ingredients that I will not touch the subject, BUT I will say if I was inviting a Cuban or someone else for dinner I would not just say, "I'm making Paella for dinner" if I'm cooking this dish because they will automatically expect golden saffron rice with seafood, and to not get in arguements with my grandmother I just refer to this dish as "Arroz Amarillo Con Nabo, Coliflor y Costilla" (Yellow Rice with Turnips, Cauliflower and Ribs) just specify and you'll be fine ;)

-3 cups short-grain rice (such as cal rose, Valencia, Bomba, Calaspara, or Arborio)
-6 cups water (add an extra cup if you like it stickier and soupier I do)
-2 lbs. pork spareribs cut into small pieces (more or less it's up to you)
-1/2 or 1 whole cauliflower (depends the size and how much you want to use)
-2-3 turnips (again depends how much you want to use)
-2-4 cloves garlic minced (to taste you can add more if you like)
-1 fresh tomato grated or blended
-1 teaspoonful sweet smoked Spanish paprika
-saffron or teaspoon of other coloring (like bijol, achiote or turmeric) enough to make yellow like 1 tsp.
-extra-virgin olive oil (enough to coat pan)


(1) Heat paellera (or a super large shallow pan) on high heat, when hot lower heat to medium high, and add olive oil when heated then add pork ribs seasoned with salt and allow to brown (this takes a while)

(2) While ribs browning prep everything, wash the rice several times until water runs clear, at least 3-4 times drain, and mix with sweet smoked Spanish paprika and saffron or other coloring powder such as bijol, also chop all vegetables and everything.

(3) When ribs are browned add cubed turnips, chopped cauliflower, and cook for a couple minutes, add garlic, stir until fragrant about 2-3 minutes, then grated tomato.

(4) Finally add the rice that has already been washed and mixed with coloring and sweet smoked Spanish paprika, mix well until well coated in oil, and everything.

(5) Finally add the water and bring to a boil on high heat, lower heat to medium low and let boil uncovered 25- 30 minutes, afterwards turn off heat,
(6) Cover rice pan with a cloth and it's cover remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes.
(7) It's ready to be served, it can stand alone as one meal or you can accompany it with a salad :) I was gonna take a picture of the Paella when it was uncovered but everyone already tunneled into more than half of it.

(1) For this recipe, for the ingredients you use as much as you want of whatever, if you like lots of meat add more meat, if you like less vegetables add less vegetables. In my house we like it with a lot of turnips and cauliflower, some people like less.

(2) TIP for when I cook Paella type dishes using short-grain rice is this, ALWAYS be sure the rice is SUPER CLEAN remove all starch or it will be to mushy, ALWAYS use double the amount of water to rice, and for wetter version always use double the amount plus 1 cup, ALWAYS allow once liquid is boiling to boil UNCOVERED at medium low heat for atleast 20- 25 minutes, and cover removed from heat an additional 10 minutes to let the rice grains on top poof. This is the technique I use and learned from other people. Makes the best rice always.

(3) You will need a very large rice pan for this trust me... also you may need to rotate and reposition the pan over the flame since it is large and the heat sometimes concentrates on one part.