meatless monday . #24 {vegetable paella}

As with some other previous Meatless Monday dishes { think tvp enchiladas}, when I first looked at this recipe I thought, “It looks beautiful but how can this possibly have any flavor?” I love paella…but have discovered {from ordering it at different restaurants through the years, including ones in Spain} it is very easy to mess up.  Getting it right – melding all the flavors but still having each ingredient stand out on it’s own-  is such a talent.  You all know that this non-meat-eating-once-a-week thing is meant to reduce our meat consumption and not as an entree into vegetarianism.  So I have no guilt telling you that I L.O.V.E. paella with seafood and chorizo.  Heck, I’ll eat anything with chorizo in it.  But I have to say, I did not miss it tonight.  This is a great recipe!  I waited three weeks for my new cookbook, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, to arrive.  It was so worth it.  There are so many things I want to make!  All of the pictures are colorful, brilliant and beautiful.  If they taste as good as this vegetable paella, I am going to wind up making every recipe in the book.  I tweaked a few of the ingredients; they are reflected in the recipe below.  One tip: by a paella pan that is the next serving size up.  So if you always make dinner for 4, get a 6 serving paella pan. You’ll be able to fit the ingredients in without crowding and steaming stuff.  Goldfarb’s brother is visiting us – the boys had beers {Estrella Damm lager from Barcelona}  with our apps of cheese, olives and flat bread.  I had cava, a sparkling Spanish wine I absolutely love.  With dinner, we enjoyed a bottle of 2003 Reserva Quinta dos Roques, a beautiful red blend rated 92 points by Wine Spectator.  For less than $15, it is a smoky, medium-balanced red with flavors of sweet, dark fruit.  This wine from Portugal is meaty and minerally with a nice finish.  I spent about 45 minutes walking every aisle at The Spanish Table today.  It is my go-to store for all things Spanish.  If you haven’t been there, you must go.  Their staff is incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. I got everything there for tonight’s dinner {sans the vegetables}.  And I might have gotten a couple of sweet treats, too.  Don’t tell Goldfarb! I’m hoarding them for myself. 

Vegetable Paella
adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty
1 hour, serves 4

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish {or sweet} onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 fennel bulb, sliced into strips
2 roasted garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. tumeric
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups short-grained paella rice {like Matiz}
8 tbsp. sherry
1 ½ tbsp. saffron threads
1 tsp Kosher salt
4 cups boiling vegetable stock
1 cup fava beans {about 1 ¼ lbs. fresh or if you want to save a lot of shelling time, use frozen – prep is the same}
1 cup frozen peas
15 grape or strawberry tomatoes, halved
10 grilled baby artichokes in oil from a jar or olive bar, drained + quartered
20 pitted kalamata olives, halved
3 tbsp. Italian parsley, roughly chopped
4 lemon wedges

Heat olive oil in paella pan.  Gently saute the onions for 5 minutes.  Add bell peppers and fennel; continue to saute for 6 minutes or until soft and golden.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the bay leaves, paprika, turmeric and cayenne; stir well.  Add rice then stir + cook for 2 minutes.  Add sherry and saffron.  Boil for 1 minute then add the stock and salt.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 25 minutes.  Do not cover or stir.

Just before the rice is done cooking, prepare the favas and peas.  If using fresh favas, remove peas from pods and take off outer covering. Or soak in boiling water for 1 minute than remove skins.  For fresh, put into a small bowl and cover with just enough hat water {about 2 minutes}.  Drain favas/peas and add to paella pan.  Add tomatoes and artichokes.  Cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Remove foil. Satter olives and parsley over the top and serve with a lemon slice.


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