Again, it’s been a long time since I last cooked paella. And this weekend, encouraged by my lovely partner, I got my hands on it again. Sunday traditions must definitively be maintained!
Now, in this blog I have already covered all the basic paella recipes. You all can have a look whether you prefer fish or meat. However, I’ve been missing a very important one… Until today. You know I love that everybody feel included and welcomed when searching out my recipes so, dear vegetarian and vegan readers, today is your lucky day. This paella was specially cooked thinking of you all.
My fridge is always full of vegetables of all kinds. I remember that time ago I used to cook and eat them as a complimentary ingredients for my meals. For example: if I ate a chicken breast with roasted potatoes, I would make a salad or grill some peppers and put in on the side. That was all. But something has changed over the last year and I am eating vegetarian/vegan meals at least once or twice a week. I thought I would struggle with the change, but to be honest with you it’s gone easier than expected. From my perspective, the best advice I can give you is: try to cheat your brain and include vegetables that can resemble to meat. Aubergines, mushrooms, courgettes or artichokes are adequate for this purpose.
This paella was cooked with pantry essentials plus an special addition: fresh artichokes. Can you imagine how hard is to find them here? So far, I’ve only seen them in jars as antipasti food. How surprising -and happy- was to see that my local groceries store sells them as I used to buy them back home. Although they were very expensive, I don’t regret to have paid for them. Now, get ready for the cleaning and peeling challenge. If you are all for it because I have convinced you, watch this video tutorial first:
Let me finish saying that, after my experience, I strongly recommend to eat meat free meals a couple of times a week. No matter if you are not keen to embrace vegetarianism or veganism. Try it and you will realise you can diet can be much more varied than you could imagined.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
Rice (300 g)
Fresh artichokes (3)
Red pepper (half)
Green pepper (half)
Canned tomato (100 g)
Vegetables stock (900 ml)
Smoked paprika (1 teaspoon)
Turmeric (1 teaspoon)
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
We will fry the vegetables according to their toughness. Therefore, we should start with the aubergine and the artichokes. Dice both of them in cubes, add a generous amount of olive oil in your paella pan and for 10 minutes at medium heat. Stir frequently so they don’t stick on the base.
2. Now it’s time for the peppers and the courgette. Cut the first ones in sticks (but not really long) and the latter in dices. Add them to the pan and cook until tender.
3. Finely chop the onion and cook it together with the rest of the ingredients. At this point, drizzle with salt and pepper. You may need to reduce the heat to avoid the vegetables burn. Also, don’t forget to stir frequently.
4. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the tomato and blend it well with them. Increase slightly the heat to evaporate the water. After that, add the smoked paprika, the turmeric and more salt if needed. Stir all together and cook for 30 seconds.
5. Drop the rice and cook at low heat for 3-4 minutes. This way, the grains will absorb a lot of flavour from the vegetables. Then, spread it evenly across the pain.
6. Pour the vegetables stock and start boiling at high heat for 10 minutes. Reduce to medium afterwards and cook for eight minutes. Using the above quantity of liquid the stock will not completely vanish. Instead, you will get a creamy layer on top of it. Should you want a dry paella, cut the stock amount down to 750 ml (2,5 parts to one of rice)
7. Give your paella a final oven touch and bake it for 5-10 minutes at 180 Celsius. However, if your pan is not ovenproof then remove from the heat and cover with a kitchen cloth for five minutes. After that, it’s ready to serve.