Monday, August 11, 2014

Simple Vegetable Paella

When you picture a young couple in their first home, less than a week after they move in, how do you imagine them eating dinner?  I always pictured people eating on the floor, drinking some wine as they open a box of pizza or some cartons of Chinese food.  This vision was actually pretty similar to Mark and me our first few weeks in our new house, except obviously with my cooking replacing the pizza and Kung Pao chicken.  And we usually ate sitting on the back deck rather than the dining room floor.  And I couldn't get Mark convinced to open one of his wine collection bottles.

Anyway, every time I hear the word "paella" now, I picture Mark and I devouring this delicious meal sitting outside on the deck floor, eating our first meal with just the two of us in our "starter castle" as Mark's friend Churchie calls it.  It's kind of a cute and homey picture, I think :)

Back to the paella: Mark is such a good sport eating my food without complaint.  I often beg him for meal requests but he never has any.  He says he doesn't know, or asks for things like frozen waffles and Greek yogurt.  Argh.  So when he randomly threw out the term "paella," I was on it.  I found this vegetarian version and decided to try it.  I had made green paella  before but wanted to try something new.  This one calls for brown arborio rice, which I knew Mark would appreciate (he's the weirdo who gets brown rice at Chinese food restaurants).  It also did not call for saffron, which is rather un-Spanish but also a heck of a lot cheaper, which was good for a brand new homeowner.  It has great things like shiitake mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and chard, plus chickpeas for protein.  We both really loved it.  I even packed the leftovers for Mark for our last week of school and he ate it - this from a man who hates leftovers.  Definitely a great paella if you're in the mood :)


simple vegetable paella
from A Couple Cooks
serves 4

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, tops cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 or 2 bunches chard (enough to make 2 cups chopped)
4 whole artichoke hearts (canned, but not in oil), quartered
1 cup brown arborio rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup chickpeas (canned or cooked)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper


1) In a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms,  Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add smoked paprika, turmeric, and rice.  Stir for about 1 minute.

2) Add diced tomatoes and their liquid, chard, chickpeas, kosher salt, and fresh pepper.  Stir to combine, and cook for a few minutes.  Pour in about 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (enough to fully cover the rice and vegetables, but not enough to overflow the pan!).  Place the artichoke quarters in an artistic manner over the top of the dish.

3) Bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer without stirring until the liquid has evaporated, about 40 minutes or so (it took far less on my gas stove).  You can add a bit more liquid (water or broth) if necessary if you find that the rice is not done.

4) After the liquid is mostly cooked out, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes - a little more of the liquid will absorb as it sits.  Make sure not to leave it on the heat too long, or it may burn.  Serve and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Hahahahahahaha. Waffles and Greek yogurt. Mark is such a big kid.