vegetable paella

February 18, 2012

Many of you will have heard of paella. For those of you who haven’t, paella is a Valencian rice dish that originated in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. And, Valencians think of paella as one of those things that make them who they are. There are three widely known types of paella: paella valenciana, paella de mariscoa, paella mixta. But there are many others – all of them free-style combinations of  calasparra or bomba rices, wine, saffron and olive oil, green vegetables, beans, and seasoning. It’s a one pan dish full of flavour, texture, and satisfaction. Read on for the recipe below. Or check out v:gourmet’s first (of many) videos above produced by my main man Frantz who’s a student currently at Humber College. Frantz rocks. So does this recipe.

3 tbsps olive oil

1/2 spanish onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

1/2 fennel bulb, cut into strips

2 bay leaves

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup calaspara rice (or another short-grain paella rice)

6 1/2 tbsps good quality sherry

2 cups veggie stock, heated

sea salt and pepper

3/4 cup shelled fava beans, peas or other green vegetable, cooked

4 tomatoes, cut into wedges

15 pitted kalamata olives

2 tbsps roughly chopped parsley

4 lemon wedges

Heat up the olive oil in a paella pan or large shallow skillet, and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and fennel and continue to fry on medium heat for about 6 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the bay leaves, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne to the vegetables and stir well. Then add the rice and stir thoroughly for 2 minutes before adding the sherry and saffron. Boil down for a minute, then add the stock and 1/3 tsp sea salt. Reduce the heat to the minimum and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Do not cover the pan and don’t stir during the cooking.

Remove the paella pan from the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed but without stirring the rice and vegetables much. Scatter the tomatoes, and peas or beans over the rice and cover the pan tightly with a lid or foil. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Take off the foil. Scatter the olives on top of the paella and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with wedges of lemons.