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Vegetable Paella

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This version of Paella is as good or better than any I have had when traveling in Spain. I have adapted it from one of my favorite recipe books, Plenty. The veggies take on the smoky flavor of smoked paprika instead of from sausage. And the short grain rice lends a creaminess to this delicious earthy dish. I have used Calasparra rice from Spain which I found on Amazon.com or arborio (risotto) rice also works well. This is a warming and colorful winter entree that you will want to make again and again!

  • 3 Tbsp EV olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red & 1 yellow bell pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 small fennel (anise) bulb, cut in strips
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup Calasparra rice (or another short grain rice)
  • 6-1/2 Tbsp good quality sherry
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 cups boiling chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cups frozen edamame or green peas
  • 12 small plum tomatoes halved (or use 2 cups grape tomatoes halved)
  • 1/2 12-oz jar of marinated artichoke heart quarters, drained
  • 15 pitted kalamata olive, crushed or halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 lemon quartered for a garnish
  • Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a paella pan or a large shallow skillet and saute on low heat for 5 minutes. Add the peppers and fennel and cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the bay leaves and spices 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 aedd the stock and 1/3 tsp salt if desired. Reduce the heat to the minimum and simmer 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 the rice during the cooking.

Remove the pan from the heat.  Scatter the tomatoes, artichokes and edemame over the rice and cover the plan tightly with foil. Let rest 10 minutes.

Take off the foil,. scatter the olives on top of the paella, sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4-6.