[pah-ey-luh, -eyl-yuh, pah-yel-uh]
a Spanish dish prepared by simmering together chicken, seafood, rice, vegetables, and saffron and other seasonings.
There are tales that the word originated from the Arab word “baqiyah” meaning left-overs. However, linguists believe the word came from the Latin word “patella” [puh-tel-uh] (Origin 1665–75; Latin, diminutive of patina, patena pan) literally meaning, something wide open.
History of Paella
Valencia on the Mediterranean coast of Spain is where paella initially developed. The Arabian Moors had introduced rice into this region of Spain during their occupation. In the fields of Valencia the workers cooked the delicious rice dish in a “paella” pan over an open file and ate it directly from the pan with wooden spoons. As a peasant food whatever ingredients were cheap and locally available were used in the paella. Typically early field paella included snails, marsh rats, eels and butter beans. More wealthy Valencians cooked paella using rabbit, chicken, duck, beans, artichokes, tomatoes, rosemary, paprika and saffron – yum.
The popularity of Paella spread throughout Spain and many different types developed particularly the popular seafood paellas. Communal Paella cooking and village paella competitions became popular in many regions of Spain. Most families in Valencia have a traditional secret family recipe.
Today Paella is regarded by the world as Spain’s national dish but to the Spanish it is just a regional food from the Valencia region.