According to the traditionalists in Valencia, Paella Valenciana, is the only paella dish that can be legitimately called paella.

It consists of rice, rabbit (sometimes chicken or duck), snails, green beans, tomatoes, and garlic.

A well-prepared paella is one of the world’s greatest dishes. For a simpler version, use only chicken ( 4 or 5 skinless, boneless thighs) and you can also add sauteed pork sausage or chorizo.

The snails add a bit of funky authenticity to the dish, but a sprog of rosemary is an acceptable substitute.

Preparation:

Place the chicken and rabbit in a bowl and rub generously with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp of the paprika, and half of the garlic. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the chicken stock, or broth, in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the saffron and keep the stock at a simmer until ready to use.

Place 4 tbsp of the olive oil in a 16-inch paella pan set over a single burner and heat over medium until it starts to smoke.

Add the chicken and rabbit and brown, turning several times, for 6 to 7 minutes. Add the green beans, butter beans, and artichokes and stir until the vegetables begin to brown, about 2 to 8 minutes.

Push everything to the edge of the pan, where it’s not as hot.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to the center of the paella pan. Add the remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes to the center of the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring the tomatoes several times, until they are thickened and reduced, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Using two wooden spoons, push the meat and the vegetables toward the center of the pan and mix them up with the tomatoes. Add the remaining 1 tsp paprika and the cayenne and stir for a few seconds.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Add the rice to the paella pan and stir it gently to coat with the pan mixture. Pour in 4 cups of the simmering stock, keeping the remaining stock simmering (in case it’s needed later).

Set the paella pan over 2 burners, stir in the snails or rosemary, and shake the pan gently to distribute the rice evenly.

Cook over medium heat until the cooking liquid is almost level with the rice but the rice is still soupy, about 7 minutes.

Periodically move and rotate the pan so that the liquid boils evenly. If the liquid is absorbed too fast and the rice still seems too raw, sprinkle on some more stock.

Transfer the paella pan to the oven and bake until the rice is tender but still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Check the paella a few times and sprinkle more stock over the rice if it seems too al dente.

Remove the paella form the oven, cover it with aluminum foil, and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and let stand for another 10 minutes (the rice gets better as it stands).

Serve and enjoy this classic Paella Valenciana!

Serves 6 to 8