AS NOT EVERYONE HAS A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN LIGHT A FIRE, I HAVE ADAPTED MY FRIEND ROGER’S PAELLA SO YOU CAN COOK IT ON A BARBECUE GRILL PLATE, BARBECUE GAS BURNER OR ONE OF THOSE LARGE GAS BURNERS YOU CAN BUY AT THE HARDWARE STORE OR ASIAN GROCERS. PREPARING PAELLA OVER A FIRE IS DIFFERENT TO ANY OTHER COOKING TECHNIQUE. HAVING A LEVEL COOKING SURFACE IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IF THE PAELLERA IS ON AN ANGLE, THE LIQUID WILL GO TO ONE END AND THE RICE AT THE OTHER END WILL NOT COOK. SOME PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO GET OUT THE SPIRIT LEVEL — NOT A SILLY IDEA IF YOU HAVE ONE! REMEMBER, YOU NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON THE COOKING AND NOT BE DISTRACTED.
Drain the salt cod, then trim off any fins and dark or brown flesh. Run your hands along the flesh and cut out the bones as you find them. Cut the flesh into six equal portions. Cover and refrigerate until required.
Transfer the rabbit to a heavy-based saucepan, reserving the oil in the paella pan. Add enough water to the saucepan to just cover the rabbit and season with salt. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, then remove the rabbit pieces from the pan. Strain the stock, reserving
Meanwhile, to make the sofrito, heat the remaining olive oil in the paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add all the capsicum and cook, stirring regularly, for 12-15 minutes, or until soft. Season to taste, then add the chopped tomato and cook, stirring regularly, for another 15–20 minutes, or until the sofrito has a jam-like consistency.
Add the artichokes and reserved garlic bulb to the paella pan, then pour in the rice and stir for 2 minutes, or until well coated. Pour in the reserved hot stock, then place the rabbit pieces, cod and the remaining thyme sprigs evenly over the rice. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, for 18 minutes — do not stir.
Remove from the heat, cover with a clean cloth and allow to stand for 10 minutes, or as long as it takes everyone to get to the table and be seated. Serve with a glass of a Spanish red such as maius or tempranillo.
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