Paella Pan

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A cooking vessel that is used to prepare the traditional Spanish rice dish, paella. The pan is a large diameter, shallow skillet-like pan that may be made from cast iron, enameled metal, or brushed aluminum. Some pans may have higher sides resulting in a deeper pan, but the typical pans are approximately 14 to 16 inches in diameter and have the appearance of a medium to large skillet with a shallow depth. Most paella pans have handles on either side.

Paella is a dish made with Valencia rice, which is a medium-grain variety that is able to absorb a large volume of liquid. Paella usually includes ingredients such as fish, seafood, poultry, sausage, and vegetables and is known for the dry, separate rice grains of the top layers that are accompanied by a browned crusty layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the pan. This browned layer is known as "socarrat" and is the result of cooking the rice uncovered and unstirred (after the liquid is added) on the stovetop or an open fire (the traditional method for cooking paella). When using a stovetop, the cooking process is finished in the oven where the paella bakes, uncovered for approximately 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the recipe) and is rotated a half turn after several minutes to bake evenly.

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