Todo sobre la leña.

All about firewood

Aug 16, 2021

Rafa Margós does not understand the traditional preparation of Paella without its original combustion. Its aroma and flavor take us back to the original version of the dish. That is why in El Paeller firewood is one more ingredient, invisible to the eye, but not to the palate.

The use of firewood requires certain logistics, a suitable paellero and, of course, proper handling of firewood. Controlling the fire to give the paella the intensity it needs at each moment of cooking is a task that requires practice and knowledge. That is why Rafa Margós gives you the keys to choose the ideal firewood to prepare an authentic wood-fired paella.

Why is firewood so important in paella?

A wood-fired paella is different. The flavor and aroma of vegetable combustion is noticeable, and a lot. It is an ingredient that cannot be seen, but it determines the result, influencing three key aspects of the paella: aroma, flavor and colour.

In addition, it is a natural and local ingredient , in our land we have wonderful firewood: orange, vine, pine, almond trees... And since it is of vegetable origin and the result of annual pruning, it is a very sustainable combustion.

What is the best firewood for Paella?

There are many types of firewood and although orange wood is usually considered the best, it cannot always be used. It depends a lot on pruning and the season. In the Valencian Community we find fantastic vegetable combustion. Citrus and vine firewood are always the most optimal since they lack resin and have the perfect acidity to provide that special aroma and flavor to the preparation.

How do you classify the firewood in your paellero?

When pruning the firewood, the cuttings should be dried in the sun and classified by size based on thickness: Trunks as wide as the wrist that allow longer combustion. Medium branches the thickness of the thumb, these are used to feed the fire with a medium power. Fine branches to give a greater intensity to the fire, are the ones that make it easier for the flame to ignite. In summary, the smaller the firewood, the greater the intensity of the fire and the shorter its duration.

How to manage the intensity of firewood during preparation?

The most important thing is that the firewood we use is low-power, but fast-burning. This will allow the fire to be controlled during cooking and the preparation to be uniform.

After lighting the fire with fine branches and having controlled the intensity of the flame, we will place the paella and begin to cook. In the stir-fry, the intensity of the flame must be soft, a manageable and constant fire that allows the ingredients to be cooked evenly. We will use the medium branches for this.

Once we incorporate the broth (water if it is Paella Valenciana) we must increase the power of the fire with fine branches and when it starts to boil, we pour the rice and during the first 9 or 10 minutes continue to maintain the fire with this type of branches or fine sticks. at maximum intensity.

After those minutes and when the broth reaches the level of the rice, the firewood will be distributed towards the edges , so that the power is distributed towards the perimeter of the Paella. This is important so that the center does not burn.

The last minute of cooking, to get the socarrat, we will once again incorporate fine branches to increase the power of the fire.