Rural paella with rabbit and quail

Joined Oct 2, 2010
Rural paella with rabbit and quail

Paella is cooked everywhere in Spain, also inland. This is an example of one of those paellas. It is my adaptation of a recipe by Miguel Maestres. Don't worry about not having a paella pan or "paellera", I don't have one either. Use a large good inox pan. The only thing you really have to watch is the temperature. Making a paella takes time, don't make this if you're in a hurry.

1. The day before

I used half a rabbit that has to be marinated overnight. Marinade made in a mortar, starting with crushing a teaspoon each of dried juniper berries, black pepper corns, salt, 3-4 cloves of garlic. Add 60 ml each of olive oil and dry sherry (fino or manzanilla). Pour over the rabbit cut in pieces, cover and let marinate overnight.

The rest of the ingredients I used  are; quail, cut in half, removed the legs. Merguez sausages cut in smaller sizes. Fresh thyme, fresh oregano and a few fresh lovage leafs. Half a large red bell pepper. More garlic, chopped, a little chorizo, almonds (I used flakes, whole blanched ones are better), black olives, good saffron, round "paella" rice. Not in this picture; 1/2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika), more olive oil, lemon juice, more dry sherry.

You also need 1 liter of chicken stock over 400 grams of rice. If you want ratios for making other quantities, work with volumes; 1 volume rice and 2 volumes stock.

2. The next day

Searing the meat; you need to take ample time for this. All meat has to be nicely browned. This whole thing took me more than half an hour! Heat your pan to high, add olive oil, start searing the quail and merguez, later on, add chorizo. Now add the pieces of rabbit, one at a time, straight out of the marinade. If your pan is a bit too small, simply remove a few pieces temporarily. Sear the rabbit for at least 15-25 minutes. Add the remaining marinade and keep on searing all the meat, it has to be really browned.

Somewhere halfway searing the meat

Remove all the meat from the pan. Add some more olive oil if necessary. Take the heat down to medium. Add chopped garlic, thyme stripped off their branches and the chopped fresh oregano. Let simmer for a while.

Add red bell pepper, peeled and cut in strips, olives, almonds, saffron, pimentón, good dash of dry sherry. Let the alcohol evaporate for a while, then add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Now add all the meat back and let simmer for a while.

Now add the rice by sprinkling it around. Gently shake the pan in order to submerge all rice grains.

From now on no more stirring!!! Let simmer gently. If you keep stirring, you will not have a crust forming on the bottom of the pan. This "socarrat" as it is called is almost a must in a good paella. When is the paella ready? Take a spoon and keep tasting the rice time after time. It has to be just done. Now is the time to squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the preparation and let it simmer for a minute longer and you're ready to serve. If you added the right amount of liquid and cooked the rice over not too high heat, the rice should come out perfectly.


  We got socarrat!
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Joined Jun 23, 2012
Specific ingredients asside, your recipe and photos take me back to Alicante and the great Paella they make there!

Joined Sep 21, 2012
nice recipe.

I do a version of the valencia version with seafood, just replace the rabbit and quail with chicken  some prawns and mussels. Like the sound of yours though, thanks for sharing.
Joined Oct 2, 2010
Thank you Careme. There are as much paellas as there are cooks. One very popular addition around Valencia is... snails.

But a combination of chicken, rabbit, seafood and snails in just one paella is no exception at all.
Joined Jun 23, 2012
During my first trip to Spain, in 1976, I had very little familiarly with Spanish food.

When I arrived at my hotel in Alicante in was late afternoon and my agent told me that he would pick me up for dinner that night.

When he arrived back at 9:30, I was both surprised and very hungry. I didn't know that the Spanish ate that late.

Mariano asked me what I wanted to eat for dinner and the only Spanish dish I knew was Paella.

He told me that Spaniards do not eat Paella for dinner, they mostly eat it at lunch because it is too "heavy" for dinner.

He took me into town and we ate what I now know was tapas. As Alicante is right on the Mediterranean Sea, most of the tapas were seafood.

Mariano told me that I would be getting a "special" Paella for lunch the next day.

After a long morning of meetings outside of Elche, a nearby but very inland town in the southern Spanish dessert, we headed out into the desert for lunch.

We took 3 cars as many of the people with whom I had been meeting during the morning came along.

We drove for a 15 minutes into the dessert until a farm house appeared on the horizon.

The cars pulled up and the owner came out to greet us.

He came over to me and wrapped his big arms around me and told me that the chef wanted to meet me.

He took me through the dining room and into the kitchen.

The chef explained that we were having their "special" Paella and, as the guest of honor, I would have the pleasure to killing the rabbit, which he reached down and pulled up and presented to me with a butcher knife.

I explained that I would be glad to EAT the rabbit but would not do the slaughter.

When I returned to the dining room and the whole restaurant was laughing!

I had been "set-up"
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Joined Mar 19, 2009
I wonder how many of us would eat meat that we had to kill ourselves.
Joined Oct 2, 2010
Love the story, Clove.

Ordo, I saw many chickens and rabbits slaughtered when I was young. It was a very common thing to do, but still, I always found it horrible. I don't think I could do it myself.
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