A lunch invitation
We’re renting James and Antonia’s place in Inca in Mallorca aka Majorca for a few weeks this summer. It’s lovely, the rustic and the modern merging into a beautiful new character. I love the feel of being so far away from the town of Inca, even though it’s just on the other side of the road. Mind you, that’s a 40-minute walk though. Our second Sunday here, James and Antonia invite us to spend Sunday afternoon with them and their friends eating paella mixtas. Antonia and James’ sister Magdalena share with us the secret to their traditional paella recipe. We’ve eaten paella before, but to have it straight from the hands of a true Majorcan is awesome. One more checkmark off my bucket list.
Cooking the Paella
Antonia starts cooking and I get click happy, taking notes at the same time. Antonia starts off with chopping the conejo (rabbit), costillas de cerdo (pig ribs) and pollo (chicken) in chunks sized 2 to 3 inches each and heats them in an enormous pot called olla cocina. Well, it has to be enormous. She is cooking for over a dozen people. 😊
After frying it for some time she adds in diced cebollas (onions) and tomates (tomatoes), and fries it for about 40 minutes. The aromas wafting from the pot molcajete make me want to reach in and eat the meat as is. But I wait…
Antonia then takes out the liver pieces from the molcajete and keep them aside in a molcajete (pronounced ‘mol-cah-hay-tay’), which is similar to the mortar and pestle used in many kitchens across the world, even ours. She then added in water followed by caldo de pollo (chicken stock) and guisantes verdes (green peas) and leaves it on the fire for another 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The liver that was kept aside in the molcajete is ground to a paste with some garlic, dried parsley, and water, and set aside for later. While waiting for the broth to cook, we watch James and Magdalena shear a sheep and also play with a new born lamb that’s just two days old.
Once the broth is ready, Antonia takes a paella (pronounced ‘pie-ay-ah’), which is also the name of the large pan that the paella is cooked in. She fries some king prawns or ‘gambas’ in oil and then keeps them aside.
Next Antonia fries about a kilogram of rice in oil, and cooks it for exactly 12 minutes. The 12 minutes is a very important factor. The same is reiterated by Magdalena who is cooking some paella for me without gambas(prawns) since I’m allergic.
They then add in the previously cooked ingredients.
This is followed by some azafrán (saffron), salt and red pepper pieces. This is followed by the liver paste that was left aside earlier.
After simmering for a little while the gambas are added back in along with some mejillones (mussels), and the paella is ready to be dished out.
Ensaimadas and coffee
We enjoy a lovely long lunch with some Spanish wine and Martini, and we’re stuffed. But then Antonia’s friend has brought along some mouth-watering ensaimadas that are similar to pies.
The one was piña (pineapple) and guindas (cherries.) The one I loved more was made of nueces (walnuts) and had a plátano (banana) and caramelo (caramel) flavour. All this followed by the traditional café (coffee) with a little bit of sherry in it. Lush!
The conversation keeps going for quite some time after we’re done, all fuelled by Antonia’s lovely cooking. La comida era increíble! I’ll have to make sure to come back to Majorca and eat more of the lovely Spanish food again soon!