Arroz con Cebolla Confitada

Rice with Caramelized Onion

Catalans like to mix seafood and meats, which they call mar y montaña (sea and mountain), and this dish, a specialty of the Bajo Ampurdán area, in Girona Province north of Barcelona, is an excellent example of that tradition. I first tasted it at Can Pep, a restaurant in the beautiful beach town of Calella de Palafrugell, and was immediately smitten. Like many other rice dishes from around the Mediterranean, this one is prepared in a cazuela, rather than in a paella pan.

  • Serves 6


  • ½ pound Manila or small littleneck clams 
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt 
  • ½ cup olive oil 
  • ½ rabbit or small chicken, about 1 ½ pounds, cut into small pieces 
  • 2 yellow onions, grated 
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced 
  • ⅓ cup sweet vermouth 
  • 2 cups water 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • ½ teaspoon sugar 
  • 4 cups Fish Stock 
  • 2 tomatoes, halved crosswise, grated on the large holes of a handheld grater,skins discarded 
  • 1 teaspoon sweet pimentón 
  • Pinch of saffron threads dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water 
  • ¼ pound squid, about 7 inches long, cleaned and with bodies cut into rings and tentacles halved if large 
  • 2 cups Spanish rice 
  • ½ pound medium shrimp in the shell with heads intact


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Scrub the clams under cold running water, discarding any that fail to close to the touch. In a large bowl, combine the clams, coarse salt, and water to cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours so that the clams release any sand trapped in their shells.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rabbit and brown, turning as needed, for about 10 minutes, or until golden on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, remove the rabbit and set aside.

Decrease the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, vermouth, water, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes longer, or until the onions are caramelized.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 ° F. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer.

When the onions are ready, add the tomatoes, pimentón, and saffron to the pan and mix well. Add the squid, decrease the heat to medium, and stir briefly to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a large (about 15-inch) cazuela, place over high heat, add the rabbit and rice, and stir to combine. Pour in the hot stock and cook for 5 minutes without stirring.

Drain the clams. Place the clams and the shrimp on top of the rice, and place the cazuela in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes. The liquid will be absorbed, the rice will be tender, the clams will have opened, and the shrimp will turn pink.

Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or a kitchen towel, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Discard any clams that failed to open and serve.

See also

Paella recipes: There are literally hundreds of paella recipes and every cook has their own favorite recipe. At Spain-recipes. com we've collected some of our favorite paella recipes, we recommend trying them all to discover the full variety of Spanish Paella!!! 

Catalonia RecipesAs with nearly all cultures, Catalonian cooking has great character. Its innovative cooking often looking back to history for inspiration. Although ultimately Mediterranean, Catalonia has been influenced by various cultures over the centuries: the Greeks, Romans, the Italians in the eighteenth century and the French have all left their mark on this complex cuisine. Catalonia has absorbed the best of each country and created a culinary package which forms part of the popular wisdom of the region.