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Jean's Paella

It was the third of January of 2020. Just a few weeks before the world changed for everyone. Jean had just come back from a trip to Valencia-Spain. In where he had participated in a Paella-workshop and so he wanted to make it for me as New Year's dinner. Aren't I lucky?

I arrived at Jean's at 19:00, we catch-each-other- up for a bit with our lives, and at around 19:43, Jean started cooking... how do I know the exact time? I have pictures with the date and time stamped. Isn't that neat?

Jean being the perfectionist that he is, was meticulously doing his mise en place (French for: the preparation of ingredients before cooking). I was in charge of nothing, just talking, updating him with my latest and my future plans. How fantastic it all seems now, after the two-year pandemic?...

Anyways, I had not eaten much on that day in expectation of Jean's feast, so safe to say that at 19:00 I was already hungry. By 19:43 I was very hungry but hopeful that in less than hour I would be savouring the Paella; but that was indeed hopeful :D...

It was only 21:30 when Jean said he had finished, but then (the plot-twist), he discloses the information that he needs to let the cooked Paella rest before we can eat, by now I'm HANGRY... You don't want to deal with HANGRY Aida, so I started the Instagram bullying-campaign to pressure him... (it did not work!) but we had a lot of fun and laughter, and the paella was delicious, well-worth the wait.

Jean's Paella had chicken, green flat bean, white fava beans, and bell peppers. One thing that stuck with me is when he was adding the rice (bombs rice, special for this dish) he measured by adding a straight line across the pan, and that is the right ration meat-vs.-rice. After the rice is incorporated to the pan, that's it, you just let it be, let it slowly and slightly burn forming that toasted rice magic that the Spanish call socarrat.

For you to be able to enjoy this recipe you'll need a Jean of your own ...



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