Rodriguez Bros of Yagoona is a well renown Spanish artisan butcher. Family run since it’s opening in 1973 it was the first butcher in Australia to produce authentic Spanish small goods. Today their business imports spanish groceries and supplies their artisan delicacies to restaurants and consumers right across the country.  We popped in last Saturday afternoon after deciding to pick up some ingredients for paella, at the time, I shamefully admit, I had no idea how to make this spanish rice dish.

RB sign RB cured

On entering the store my first thought was, I expected it to be bigger. We had done a small amount of research on the store and knew this place was well renown. The fact that the shop had not updated its rustic decor gave me the impression that nothing much had changed over the years. I felt the priority here were the wares of the store. Casting my eye over the chorizo, I thought it looked fresh, plump and generous. There was much more variety than I had seen anywhere else.

RB fresh chorizo RB deli

There were three cabinets displaying cheese, multiple types of fresh chorizo and cuts of meat. All along the back wall were rows of hanging cured chorizos and salamis. Stacked on the shelves behind the cheese display were attractive cotton sacks of spanish bomba rice and other specialised spanish grocery lines. Jars of preserved pickled vegetables, olives and chillies were scattered across the display counters. It was hard to know where to start.

RB groceries RB meat

Thankfully Roger, the proprietors son, came to our rescue. After a short discussion Roger had us sorted. He was also patient enough give me a few pointers in the process to making a paella including a shortcut with the flavour starter of the dish, the soffrito. Not only did we walk out with some beautiful ingredients but we also gained some valuable knowledge which was quite helpful.

RB cheese chorizo RB salami

Roger assisted us to select our ingredients, after consultation we chose fresh chorizo for the paella. We also took home the cured version to enjoy with some spanish cheese.  We chose a cheese made from a trio of goat, sheep and cows milk. Its proven quite tasty eaten with the cured chorizo and melted on toast under the grill. Paella is all about the rice. The authentic rice to use is the Spanish bomba rice. Bomba can absorb three times its volume in liquid and maintain texture and shape. If you cant get your hands on bomba you can try making a paella with arborio.

RB goodies

I spent the next few days reading paella recipes. In the end I found Julie Goodwin’s recipe reasonably close to the process Roger explained so I used Julie’s as a guide.

I simplified my version leaving out the seafood and using just whatever I had on hand. I decided to make my own stock to keep the flavours natural. I did this the day before. Once everything was measured the process was quite fast.

Paella

Soffrito:
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
1 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic

Paella:
1 fresh chorizo sausage
approx. 50g cured chorizo
200- 250 grams chicken breast or thigh, sliced
2 cups bomba rice
1.5 litres chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon saffron
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 capsicum
approx. 2 tablespoons olive oil
Handful of chopped parsley

RB ingredients

I started by placing a half a tin of tomatoes, a chopped onion and three cloves of garlic into a food processor. This was whizzed to a puree and set aside. The chicken stock was placed on the heat with approx 20 strands of saffron and slowly bought to a simmer.

RB stock

Meanwhile I charred my capsicum to remove the skin and gently cooked my chorizo. I used one fresh chorizo for the paella, the other chorizo pictured  was for a separate dish.

RB cap RB chorizo

I set the chorizo aside and placed the paella pan on the heat and added the olive oil.  When the pan was hot I poured in the sofritto mix and cooked it down until the most of the moisture evaporated.

RB sofritta RB Saff cooked

The paprika was stirred in,  the rice was added and coated in the sofritto.

R B coated rice

Unlike Julie I added all my stock at once then gave the rice one final stir and made sure it was spread out evenly. The heat was turned down and I could attend to the other elements of the dish while I kept one eye on the rice turning the pan every so often to even out the heat. It is important not to stir the rice throughout the cooking process as that will release the starch. I used the same frypan from the chorizo sausage to lightly sauté the cured chorizo and also the chicken until almost cooked through. The cooked fresh chorizo was sliced into rounds. The cooled charred capsicum was run under a tap and the charred skin came away very easy with a simple rubbing motion. The capsicum flesh was sliced into strips.


When the I could see the rice start to appear through the stock I scattered the chicken and cooked chorizo around the rice making sure it was all was nestled into the dish. When I felt the rice was a few minutes off being cooked I turned up the heat hoping to create a crusty socarrat on the bottom of the pan (I was 50% successful). As the rice in the bottom of the pan started to sizzle the paella pan was removed from the heat. The paella was topped with strips of capsicum, sautéed cured chorizo and a flourish of chopped parsley before being served.

RB paella

My simplified version of paella was quite tasty. If you are going to go to the effort to make a paella I highly recommend making your own stock as it’s the flavour foundation for your whole dish. Oh and call into Rodriguez Brothers for your bomba rice and fresh chorizo.

 

 

 

Comments   

#2 Sharon TWSFB 2014-07-30 13:19
@The Blonde Tourist ,what a great opportunity to learn from the experts. I bet that was a great Paella
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#1 The Blonde Tourist 2014-07-30 11:57
I recently made my own Paella after doing a cooking class in Barcelona, Spain. So good! And LOVE Rodrigues Bros. I've bought many of their chorizos in the past. Tasty as a nice tapas with a good red ;)

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