While preparing paella Valenciana, a dish that can evoke strong feelings among Spaniards, chef Jose Garces is quick to point out that he's serving his own take on the famous feast at Amada. "People are very particular about the dish," he says. "Everyone has their own version." That said, Garces' paella is the product of decades that the chef spent cooking Spanish food — including a stint in Spain, where the dish was often the family meal at the restaurant he worked in. And while he brings all of his skills as a chef to bear, the result is both refined and at once deeply rustic. Take a look at how this top seller at Amada comes together in the photo essay below:
The raw ingredients.
Stewing the rabbit and chicken legs and making the stock, which is seasoned with saffron, thyme, and bay leaf.
The finished stew.
The paella base begins with a sofrito of chorizo, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and clams.
The Valencia rice is added
Stewed rabbit and chicken legs, snails, broth, peas, lima beans, and string beans come together in the pan, which is then covered and cooks for half an hour.
The rabbit loin, chicken breast, and prawns are seared on the plancha and finished in the oven.
The seared meats are placed on the cooked rice, and the dish is garnished with a celery leaf salad, peppers, toast points, lemon juice, and olive oil.