Giant Paella - free food at fiestas

Giant Paella – our recipe ONLY makes enough for 6 people – not 200

Here in Murcia we don’t call our rice dishes paellas, we call them arroces. Paellas are Valencian, Arroces are Murcian.

We’ve eaten this dish at our friend’s house, Virtudes, so many times that I’ve lost count. Whenever there’s a big party at the caves Virtudes comes over with her huge rice pan and gets cooking. She usually has a small army of helpers and can get rice cooked for 40-50 people without breaking a sweat. I tried to make it a few times in the past, but I was missing that one step – cooking the spare ribs in a pressure cooker – this is the secret to tender meat and a delicious stock. With this recipe you can’t go wrong! Watch the video above to see an expert in action.

If possible it is best to use a paella pan, which has a large base and high sides, so the heat is spread evenly and the rice has room to expand. A large frying pan also works.

This is a recipe from Virtudes Corral Gonzalez who has a farm in La Murta, here in Murcia where I live.


Arroz con Costillejas y Magra de Cerdo – Rice with Spareribs & Pork



  • 1,3 kg de costillejas en trozos
  • 500 g de carne de cabeza de cerdo
  • 600 g de arroz o 100g por persona
  • 150 ml de aceite
  • 1 vaso de tomate frito
  • 3 l de agua aproximadamente
  • 3 dientes de ajo


  • 1.3 kg spare ribs cut into small pieces
  • 500 g pork cut into cubes
  • 600 g rice – risotto or paella or 100g per person
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 1 glass of tomato frito see recipe in Miscellaneous
  • 3 l water approx
  • 3 garlic cloves



  1. Se cuece las costillejas en 1l de agua en la olla de presión.
  2. Se fríe el ajo y el cerdo.
  3. Se añade el arroz y se fríe durante 3-4 minutos.
  4. Se añade el tomate frito, las costillejas y el agua de cocción.
  5. Se hierve hasta el arroz esté cocido, se añade agua si esté necesario.
  6. Se cubre y deja hasta 10 minutos, se sirve con trozos de limón.


  1. Put the chopped spare ribs in a pressure cooker with 1 litre water. Cook for 20 minutes, then leave to cool.
  2. In a large frying pan fry the garlic and the pork pieces in the olive oil until browned.
  3. Add the rice and fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the tomato frito, the spare ribs and the cooking water and bring to the boil.
  5. Stir occasionally, moving the rice from the centre of the pan to the sides, adding more water as needed.
  6. Cook for about 30 minutes, until the rice is just cooked and there is still a little liquid.
  7. Cover and leave for 10 minutes for the rice to absorb the remaining liquid, then serve with lemon wedges.


front-cover-8x8-outline-smallerSpanish Village Cooking – Recetas del Campo… Over 150 simple, family recipes from a rural village in Spain… Enjoy over 150 simple, family recipes from a small village in Murcia. These recipes have been handed down through generations, grandmother to mother to daughter, making use of local, homegrown ingredients and traditional cooking methods. The chefs of La Murta generously share their secrets, so you can enjoy fresh, Spanish food from the heart of the Sierra del Carrascoy.

This book is in English & Spanish, in Print & in Kindle editions.

Get the book from the Fiesta Committee in La Murta or from Amazon from


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