Vegetarian Paella (Based on Yotam Ottolenghi)

paella-rice

This is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe; there are some simplifications but its mostly the same. If you want to make this into a more traditional meat/fish based paella, add some chorizo to the oil before sweating the onions, exchange the veg stock with good fish stock and add some prawns, mussels and monkfish towards the end of cooking.

This should feed 8 people, I fed 12 but we had plenty of other food along with it.

Ingredients

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 6 red, green and yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into thin strips
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. each of smoked paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper
  • 500g Calasparra/Paella rice
  • 300ml dry/medium sherry
  • 1 packet saffron strands
  • 1.5 litres boiling vegetable stock – home made or fresh if possible, veggie cubes are usually pretty bad
  • Two chefs pinches of Sea salt

To Add after cooking, while the dish is resting…

  • 20-30 mini plum tomatoes, halved
  • A jar grilled jarred artichokes hearts, quartered
  • 900g broad beans, podded
  • 30 pitted Kalamata olives

To serve…

  • A small bunch of roughly chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Methods

In a large pan, sweat the onions for 5 mins in the olive oil, then add the fennel and peppers and cook until coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the rice and spices and mixing well for a couple of minutes. At this point turn the heat right up, add the sherry and reduce for a minute or two…..

At this point you can stop and continue the next day if you are catering for a party – however if not then add the boiling stock, saffron, bay leaves and salt, cover, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and cook for 20 mins.

After 20 minutes, throw in the rest of the ingredients, cover tightly and leave to rest for 10 minutes or so, up to half an hour is still fine.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Calasparra Rice

Paella rice (a variety of Oryza sativa) has small round grains absorb the water and flavour well whilst remaining firm and separate. Most varieties such as Bomba, Senia and Bahia are grown in the Valencia region but the best is apparently from the village of Calasparra in Murcia – rice grown slowly in still water using an old Moorish irrigation system.


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